Last week, Jeff Sessions was confirmed as President Trump’s new attorney general to lead the Department of Justice. It has taken only days for the impact to be felt across the country.
On Friday, the Department of Justice signaled that it is ending efforts to force school districts to allow boys into girls facilities as a condition of receiving federal funding.
Last year, the Obama Justice Department invented new definitions of the term male and female under Title IX (without legislative input) that had the effect of forcing school districts to choose between the privacy of their students and the availability of federal education funds.
Twenty-four states had challenged the new interpretations, and a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the order on December 31st.
The next hearing was set for Tuesday, February 14th in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
However, on Friday, both parties filed a joint notice with the court to cancel the hearing.
This comes as welcome news to school districts across the country.
The timing of this issue is helpful for supporters of privacy in Washington State as well. This week, Just Want Privacy will be distributing petitions for Initiative 1552, which would overturn a mandate from Washington State’s Human Right’s Commission that forces schools and businesses to allow men into women’s facilities.
An initiative effort failed to gather enough signatures in 2016. But Just Want Privacy did not wait for the legislature to act this year. They believe that having nearly five months to gather signatures instead of 9 weeks will allow the volunteer effort sufficient time to qualify for the ballot.
But the effort will again depend entirely on volunteers. Everyone who cares about maintaining safe spaces for women and children in Washington schools and businesses is encouraged to become a volunteer, request a petition, and make a contribution.
Opponents of efforts to protect privacy in Washington State had previously argued that those efforts would jeopardize federal education funding.
The DOJ’s new position indicates that will no longer be a concern.