The decision by the U.S. Justice Department to back away from an Obama administration threat that favored transgendered students is being applauded by a religious rights attorney.
The federal agency, now led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced this month it won't defend the Obama-era directive that told public schools they must allow transgendered students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms.
The announcement came last May after DOJ attorneys informed schools that legal protections for women under Title IX also protect males who believe they are females.
After 13 states sued to fight the new rule, a preliminary injunction was granted last August by U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor that halted the federal government's demand to follow the new rules or risk losing Dept. of Education funds.
A Chicago-area public school risked losing $6 million, for example, and more than 50 parents joined to sue when school officials backed down.
Now comes the Sessions-led DOJ, which quickly stopped those demands hours after Sessions became the new U.S. attorney general.
"What it means," observes Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Gary McCaleb, "is the Department of Justice is reconsidering what is a very wrongheaded rewriting of federal statute Title IX."
The Dept. of Education was also pushing the directive, and McCaleb predicted to OneNewsNow in a Feb. 3 story that the DOE under Betsy DeVos would drop its support of a lawsuit filed by a Virginia girl who identifies as a boy named "Gavin."
That case goes back to 2014, when she was allowed to use the boys restroom until parents complained, and she sued when the school adopted a policy requiring her to use the girls' restroom or a private, single-stall restroom, The Associated Press has reported.
Attorneys for the ACLU have rejected attempts by schools to compromise with private restrooms.
The term "sex" in Title IX, McCaleb says, was twisted by the former administration to include gender identity rather than the biological reality of male and female. For that reason he calls the recent DOJ decision a "breath of fresh air" for school leaders and parents concerned over the privacy and safety of girls.
"And we're hopeful," says McCaleb, "that a Trump administration puts great weight on the privacy, safety and dignity of all students in America."