Detroit, MI—A U.S. District Court judge has issued a preliminary injunction against the guidance issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to public school districts on the rights of transgender students at school. The injunction was issued in Texas v. United States, one of two multi-state lawsuits targeting the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure safe learning environments for all students, regardless of their gender identity.
“The court’s decision is inconsistent with years of clear legal precedent and will serve only to confuse school districts across the country, just as students are returning to school. Make no mistake about it, it is this injunction, not the Obama administration’s guidance that will do irreparable harm to already vulnerable students,” said Stephanie White, Executive Director of Equality Michigan.
The Texas ruling comes as members of the Michigan State Board of Education are completing work on state-level guidance on safe schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students in Michigan.
“School officials in Michigan need to know two things about this misguided injunction: First and foremost, it does nothing whatsoever to alter school district obligations under federal law to treat transgender students fairly. Secondly, it has no bearing whatsoever on the necessity or advisability of the State Board’s guidance. It is more important than ever that Michigan school officials step up to ensure that all students, regardless of their gender identity, have access to safe schools and equal educational opportunity,” said White.
The Texas v. United States injunction was issued on the heels of another dangerous court ruling in EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc., which upheld the termination of a transgender employee of a Michigan funeral home. “These cases have two things in common,” noted White. “Both place transgender individuals at great risk and both stand as stark illustrations of the pressing need to pass anti-discrimination legislation on both the state and federal level that explicitly protects people from discrimination based on gender identity or expression.”