Officials in the Wausau School District on Aug. 22 approved policy changes to meet new federal guidelines on how to treat transgender students.
The new rules are in response to a controversial May 13 order from the Obama administration requiring schools receiving Title IX funding to allow transgender students equal access to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers of their preferred gender identity. Federal law currently prohibits sex discrimination but does not address gender identity discrimination.
But the federal requirements remain in question. A Texas judge on Aug. 21 issued a nationwide injunction barring federal agencies from taking action against school districts that don't follow the national guidance on transgender policies in schools. The Justice Department is reviewing options on how to proceed.
Despite the injunction, Wausau School Board members on Monday moved forward with the new rules so teachers and administrators are properly trained before the new semester begins. If the Obama administration's order is upheld by the courts, Wausau schools stand to lose more than $8.5 million annually in federal funding if they do not comply.