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Maryland Congressman Urges School Systems To Ignore President Obama

June 1st, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Rep. Andy Harris is encouraging local school districts to ignore Obama administration guidance requiring them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that fit their gender identity — even as a growing number of schools in the state are embracing the idea.

In a letter to school systems in his district that was later distributed statewide, Harris wrote that the administration "would not have the last word on this issue" and that the administration overstepped its authority in May when it required schools to honor bathroom requests of transgender students.

"We want the superintendents to know that there is not unanimity coming from the federal government — that the branches disagree," the Baltimore County Republican said in an interview Tuesday. "The superintendents need to know that the House is likely to take some action on this."

But while the federal guidance has stoked partisan divisions and concern from some parents, many districts in Maryland have been moving ahead with such policies for months. That's because the state Department of Education issued similar guidance — to far less fanfare — in October.

A high-profile decision in April from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, meanwhile, indicated that districts that do not allow students to access bathrooms consistent with their gender identity — regardless of what sex is printed on their birth certificate — are opening themselves to lawsuits.

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