A father of three in small-town Michigan has pulled his three children — all sons — out of the local public schools after one of the sons told him that school officials are allowing a girl to use the boys’ bathroom because she really wants to be a boy.
The scene of the transgender fracas is Howell, Mich. (pop: 9,489) — about an hour west of Detroit, reports local ABC affiliate WXYZ.
“My son informed me there was a girl in the bathroom with him and the other kids in his class,” the dad, Matt Stewart, told the station.
After the conversation, Stewart and his wife opted to keep their kids home.
“As parents, we decided we were not going to force our children to make the decision between confusion, humiliation, and embarrassment,” Stewart told WXYZ.
School district officials are blaming the Obama administration for its new policy letting girls use boys’ bathrooms — and boys use girls’ bathrooms — whenever they want.
“As has been widely reported, on May 13, 2016, the United States Department of Justice and Department of Education issued significant guidance on the rights of transgender students,” a letter from district officials explains. “This involved the Department’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a statute prohibiting sex discrimination in educational programs or activities. Those Departments found that Title IX prohibits discrimination against students based on their transgender status.”
A school district representative said the district sent the letter home to all parents recently.
WXYZ reached out to Carnigee Truesdale-Howard, a pediatric psychologist at a hospital in the suburbs of Detroit, to present the case for why Stewart’s sons and all other boys should feel comfortable and supportive whenever a girl waltzes into the boys’ bathrooms.
“How would you want the school to treat your child if your child was transgender?” Truesdale-Howard asked.
“Put aside their fears and anxieties, and maybe educate themselves about what transgender is, and go from there,” the doctor advised skeptical underage students and their parents.
Battles over allowing boys to use girls’ bathrooms and girls to use boys’ bathrooms are brewing across the country.
Elected officials in 11 different states have announced a joint lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s decree that all public schools must allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. (RELATED: Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Decree Is Headed To Federal Court)
The lawsuit is being filed in a federal district court of Texas. Plaintiffs include the state governments of Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Tennessee and Utah, along with Gov. Paul LePage of Maine and the Arizona Department of Education.
Notably, West Virginia and Louisiana are participating even though both have Democratic governors.
The suit comes just 12 days after officials from the Departments of Education and Justice announced they would henceforth interpret the federal Title IX law as prohibiting all discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The new interpretation means that all public schools in the country must allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, or else risk losing federal funding.
The issue of transgender bathroom use could ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court because a similar court case in North Carolina is also pending. (RELATED: Supreme Court May Decide Transgender Bathroom Issue Once And For All)
If the various courts considering the issue come up with different rulings, the conflict would make the Supreme Court more likely to take up the issue in some form.