UNION COUNTY — Union County School District Superintendent Dr. David Eubanks says the district will make no changes to its policies regarding separate bathrooms and locker rooms for male and female students until it receives court-approved, well-defined guidelines on the issue.
This past week, the US Justice and Education departments issued a letter of guidance directing all schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with regardless of their biological sex.
The letter has caused controversy with defenders saying it is necessary to protect the civil rights of transgender students. Prior to issuing the letter, the Obama administration had warned schools that denying transgender students access to the facilities of the sex they identify with is illegal and that districts that did so could face loss of federal funding and even civil rights lawsuits by the federal government.
Opponents, however, have expressed concerns about allowing those who declare themselves to be transgender to use the bathroom and locker facilities of their choosing. Those range from concerns about the decision’s impact on children and their privacy to the possibility of sexual predators gaining access to previously single sex facilities.
School districts across the country are covered by this letter of guidance including Union County, but Union County School District Superintendent Dr. David Eubanks said that the district has no plans to change its policies regarding bathroom and locker room facilities. Instead, Eubanks said the district will continue its current policy until, as is likely, the courts weigh in on the issue.
“My take is that these are recommendations,” Eubanks said. “There is no law that indicates to us that we’ve got to proceed quickly with this. At this point in time I see no reason to make changes in our operations. We’re going to proceed gently until we receive guidelines on what we must do.
“I think that the directions given now will be challenged in court,” he said. “So what we will be doing is waiting until a decision comes determining the exact direction we need to proceed and when the guidelines for doing so are well-defined.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.