The ACLU of Arkansas responds to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s demagoguery today about Obama administration efforts to protect the rights of transgender students:

The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice have issued guidance to public schools on laws protecting transgender students. The guidelines are a user friendly guide for schools to make it easier for them to comply with the pre-existing laws and regulations that apply.

In response, Governor Hutchinson recommended that Arkansas school officials disregard the federal laws summarized for them in the guidance. If schools in Arkansas do not abide by Title IX and equal protection guarantees of the Constitution, students’ rights will be violated and Arkansas schools’ federal funding can be jeopardized.

“The call for schools to ignore the federal law is dangerous and irresponsible,” said ACLU of
Arkansas Legal Director Holly Dickson. “Violation of Title IX can lead to lawsuits and possible lost funding as well as violations of students’ rights.”

It probably would be useful to actually read the guidelines. Note particularly the section about bathrooms and locker rooms, with emphasis supplied to a key sentence:


Title IX’s implementing regulations permit a school to provide sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, housing, and athletic teams, as well as single-sex classes under certain circumstances.

When a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.

 Restrooms and Locker Rooms. A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity.

A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so. A school may, however, make individual-user options available to all students who voluntarily seek additional privacy.

More demagogues, the Republican caucus of the state Senate, who I’d wager a dollar to a doughnut have NOT read the guidelines:

The Senate Republican Caucus unanimously supports Governor Hutchinson’s position regarding the Federal government’s unwarranted intrusion into our local schools.

We stand with the Governor urging Arkansas schools districts to continue exercising common sense without regard to continued federal overreach.

We will continue to resist efforts by the Federal government to use our own tax dollars to force Arkansas to implement its radical agenda in our schools, colleges and universities.

Equal rights. Humanity. Safety. That’s what Jim Hendren and Co. call a radical agenda.


Said the Stonewall Democratic Caucus:

As a democratic caucus who fights for equality for all, we fully support our democratic President, Barack Obama, our Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education with the guidelines issued today. We implore all educational institutes to choose the path of recognizing the dignity of all students and to follow the guidelines issued by our President to ensure non-discrimination.