From the New York Times:
The Obama administration is planning to issue a sweeping directive telling every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.
A letter to school districts will go out Friday, adding to a highly charged debate over transgender rights in the middle of the administration’s legal fight with North Carolina over the issue. The declaration — signed by Justice and Education department officials — will describe what schools should do to ensure that none of their students are discriminated against.
It does not have the force of law, but it contains an implicit threat: Schools that do not abide by the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law could face lawsuits or a loss of federal aid.
The move is certain to draw fresh criticism, particularly from Republicans, that the federal government is wading into local matters and imposing its own values on communities across the country that may not agree. It represents the latest example of the Obama administration using a combination of policies, lawsuits and public statements to change the civil rights landscape for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.
As the article says, the directive doesn’t carry the force of law, but school districts that don’t comply might have to explain why not when they reapply for federal grants. The timing is interesting: the deadline for applying for education entitlement grants for the 2016-2017 school year is fast approaching.
Of course this will raise a huge stink with some school districts, especially those in areas dominated by right-wing control freaks. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R), whose state is already embroiled in a fight over bathrooms in his state, suggests that Congress should reconsider the 1964 Civil Rights Act if it means that people get to pee where they want to.
Leave it to the wingnuts to get all worked up about the guvamint telling them they have to allow students to go where they want to and then in the next breath tell us how much they believe in giving people more freedom. Just not those people.