Messer Files Bill Over DOJ Recommendation On School Bathrooms

Posted On May 20, 2016

By Mike Perleberg


(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Southeast Indiana Congressman Luke Messer has filed a bill to block the Obama Administration’s guidelines on bathroom use in public schools.

The U.S. Justice Department and Department of Education on May 13 issued joint guidance to schools on allowing transgender students to use the restroom and locker rooms for which gender they identify as. Schools receiving federal money, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status. Otherwise, a school could lose funding under Title IX.

“This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies,” said Lynch.

Messer, a Republican representing Indiana’s 6th Congressional District in Washington, has reacted to the Justice Department’s statement by introducing H.R. 5275 this week. The bill would prevent schools form losing federal funding if they do not follow the guidelines.

Messer says such decisions should be made at the state and local level.

“Everyone on both sides of this debate should be treated with respect,” said Messer.  “And, through public discourse, I believe we can come to a solution that protects the privacy and dignity of everyone involved.  But, it’s irresponsible for the Obama Administration to begin this social experiment in the bathrooms of our nation’s elementary schools.  Decisions of this magnitude should be made at the state and local level by people who will put the interest of our kids ahead of political ideology.”

Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence voiced similar feeling, saying the federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.

“I am confident that parents, teachers and administrators will continue to resolve these matters without federal mandates and in a manner that reflects the common sense and compassion of our state,” said Pence.

Eagle Country 99.3 asked southeast Indiana area school district leaders for their reactions to the Obama Administration’s directive. None replied to our emails.

Batesville Community Schools did publish an answer to a woman’s question about the DOJ guidance on the school corporation’s Facebook page. It stated “The letter provided to us by the Departments of Education and Justice does not change what we have already done or plan to do. Although this issue seems to be a new one to those in the public setting, most schools in our area have already addressed such instances. We have done so by identifying solutions to ensure we are meeting the needs of ALL students in our school system.”