by Philip Erdman
Recently, the Trump Administration scrapped the Obama Administrative directive that ordered schools to let students who identify as transgender, use bathrooms and locker rooms per the gender they identify with. The result was an instant wave of public panic and outcry, which was to be expected.
Part of the reason for the public’s reaction was a failure to realize that the Obama Administrative directive was not the sole source of protection existing for students who identify as transgender. The directive merely instructed schools on how they were too treat a situation in which a student who identifies as transgender was using a bathroom or locker room of the opposite sex (biologically).
Protections exist for students who identify as transgender and have existed before the Obama Administrative directive was released. Some of the reasons that the directive was scrapped consist of; a rash of lawsuits nationwide speaking against the law, a possible overreach by the federal government, an appearance of blackmail (where federal funds can be withdrawn from schools who choose not to follow the directive), an apparent abuse of Title IX (by incorporating and extending the law to parties who may not have been intended to be included in the law or attaching it to circumstances that were not intended to be including: students who identify as transgender picking which bathroom or locker room they use).
The current administration believes that the individual states should decide how these policies unfold and that the federal government should not dictate (through the power of the purse) what action(s) a school should take in these unique circumstances. The previous administration believed that allowing a student who identifies as transgender to pick which bathroom or locker room they used was inherent in Title IX and therefore, they felt justified in instructing schools on how to handle the situation. Arguments can be made for both sides, but at the end of the day it is about the separation of powers, who as jurisdiction (and how far does their jurisdiction extend), and are the directives constitutional. Sometimes we forget in the midst of our emotions that, no matter how strongly we agree or disagree with something, the Constitution is the highest law of the land and there are people who have been tasked with implementing it through their various roles and tasks. The Supreme Court will end up hearing this case and they will either make a ruling or refer it back to a lower court.