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N.C. Republicans to Ed. Dept.: Don't Cut School Funding Over 'Bathroom Bill'

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Republican lawmakers in North Carolina sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. on Monday, asking for assurance the state's K-12 schools, colleges, and universities won't lose federal education funding for enforcing a new state law that restricts which restrooms transgender students and staff can use, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Gov. Pat McCrory and the U.S. Department of Justice sued each other earlier Monday, asking courts to weigh in on federal officials' assertion that the law, known as H.B. 2, violates Title IX's sex-discrimination protections. 

McCrory and the state lawmakers who wrote to King insist that the federal civil rights law was not written to protect gender identity. Therefore the state's new law, which restricts restroom access based on sex at birth, is not a violation, the lawmakers wrote.

In a Monday news conference, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said her agency would "retain the option" to withhold funding from the university system and the state's Department of Public Safety in the future.

Uncertain Future for Federal School Funds in North Carolina

If federal agencies do eventually withhold education funding from North Carolina, it's unclear how the state's K-12 schools would be affected. While the Education and Justice Departments have repeatedly said that Title IX protects restroom access for transgender students in public schools, the Justice Department's lawsuit only makes Title IX claims against the University of North Carolina System, not the state's K-12 schools. And the state's lawsuit only deals with Title VII employment discrimination claims, not addressing Title IX at all.

I've sent questions to the Education Department, and I will update Rules for Engagement readers if I get a response.

You can read more background on the North Carolina situation here. And check out this recent story to understand what federal courts have said about Title IX and transgender students.


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