WV attorney general applauds transgender rule block

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — An injunction was granted Monday in Texas to stop the recent federal transgender directive for public schools, and local representatives are reacting to the decision.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey applauded the decision.

“This is a significant win against federal overreach. Over the last few months, the Obama administration has circumvented the law to advance its policy objective and has been repeatedly challenged because they’re not following the rule of law,” Morrisey said. “This is not something for the federal level to come in and micromanage. I think the court exposed the administration’s legal deficiencies today.”

The Obama administration issued a directive May 13 instructing every public school district in the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identities.

West Virginia is one of 13 states that sought the same injunction against the U.S. Department of Education and Justice in May 2016.

Moreover, the directive has a tie to federal funding, stating that institutions could lose aid if students are limited to certain areas or teams based on their birth-assigned gender.

According to the lawsuit filed in Texas, the directive works to “turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process and running roughshod over common sense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights.”

Manny Arvon, superintendent of Berkeley County Schools, said he intends to continue making sure students are respected, even in the midst of the fight against the transgender directive.

“We respect the rights of all children, and our practices that have been in place are such that those differences are respected. We have always been able to work through any sort of differences, whether it’s dealing with special needs, or race, or religion, or language or gender,” Arvon said Monday. “We must work to make sure that we respect, protect and make sure every child has a safe environment that is conducive to a great learning situation for them.”

Bondy Shay Gibson, superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, said the county will continue to address the needs of students.

“The Jefferson community has been providing excellent care for the diverse needs of our children for generations, even as those needs have changed, and we do not anticipate that changing now or in the future,” Gibson said Monday.

Morrisey said he believes the issue is one that should be addressed at the local level.

“I think most people believe this is an issue that should be resolved at the state and local level, by parents, by administrators. I have heard from a lot of people that federal representatives have been wading through an area where they didn’t have the authority to act,” Morrisey said. “This is just another example in a growing list where this president has been overreaching unlawfully.”

To view the lawsuit, visit bit.ly/29huYMS.

Staff writer Emily Daniels can be reached at 304-263-8931 ext. 132 or twitter.com/emilykdaniels.

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