19 September 2016
On August 22, 2016, United States District Judge, Reed O'Connor, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction which blocked the Obama administration's Title IX "Guidelines". This Federal case (U.S District Court, Northern District of Texas, Wichita Falls Division Preliminary Injunction Order: State of Texas v. United States of America et al) included twelve other states and two school districts suing the U.S. DOE, DOJ, EEOC and DOL. Additional states have since joined, making a total of 23 states involved in this case. This Order allows school districts around the country the ability to maintain: “[T]he status quo as of the date of issuance of this Order and this preliminary injunction will remain in effect until the Court rules on the merits of this claim, or until further direction from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals”. This affords Oregon school district leaders the ability to maintain their current policy of providing reasonable accommodations for transgender students while at the same time upholding the bodily privacy rights of all their students. It remains to be seen what effect ORS 659A.850 may have when federal law is contrary to Oregon law. In the meantime (and until there is solid legal clarity), Oregon local school districts can maintain the status quo and refrain from allowing students to use a bathroom or showering facility opposite their biological sex. This, despite, “comprehensive guidance documents” school districts around the state have received from the Oregon Department of Education, the Oregon School Boards Association and Property and Casualty Coverage for Educators (PACE).