Slatery declares victory in fight for school rights

Staff Reports • Updated Mar 7, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced Friday what he called a victory for the states in their fight to uphold school rights. 

Slatery’s declaration was due to a 13-state coalition withdrawing its lawsuit after the U.S. Department of Justice agreed to drop its appeal of a nationwide injunction. The moves were preceded by the federal government rescinding an Obama administration directive that redefined the term “sex” as a person’s sense of gender identity and placed federal funding at risk for schools nationwide that did not adhere to the new definition.   

“The decision by the Department of Education and Department of Justice to withdraw the guidance provided in the May 13, 2016 ‘Dear Colleague Letter’ ends an attempt by the previous administration to take what should be a state and local issue under the 10th Amendment and turn it into a federal issue. We are pleased to announce that the states’ litigation is no longer necessary,” Slatery said. 

Slatery also said the Sumner County School District was targeted last year by the American Civil Liberties Union, which led to a Department of Education investigation. 

“Because the unlawful locker room and bathroom directive was rescinded, Tennessee schools will no longer be subjected to the threat of losing federal funding if they do not comply,” he said. 

Slatery said his office consistently opposed efforts to take away states’ rights and exclude representatives from making decisions. 

“This is a positive outcome for the states involved, but it is also a win for the basic privacy rights of our students,” Slatery said.

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