The ACLU of Virginia has warned every public school system in the Commonwealth that they must protect the rights of transgender students regardless of the Trump administration's recent revocation of federal guidance on school restroom access.
In a letter to school superintendents sent Thursday, ACLU-VA Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga said the administration's withdrawal of guidance stating that school systems must allow students to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity does not change the federal law protecting against discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity.
"The ACLU of Virginia strongly condemns the decision to rescind the federal guidance documents as politically driven and legally unjustified. We trust that you understand that the federal government’s action does not change federal law. Students who are transgender are still protected by Title IX and the United States Constitution’s prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of sex," the letter states. "This includes when using single-sex facilities. School districts in Virginia must still comply with the law. That means schools that have protected the rights of students who are transgender should continue to do so, and schools that are discriminating against students because they are transgender must stop or face liability in court."
The ACLU-VA will "stand with and support school divisions that adopt and implement transgender-inclusive non-discrimination policies in compliance with federal law and consistent with the powers granted to school boards under the Virginia Constitution," according to the letter.
"School divisions that discriminate against students because they are transgender can expect to see us in court."