CHARLESTON – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced he sent letters to the federal government and local school boards rejecting a federal directive on transgender students as unlawful.
Morrisey, along with attorneys general from Oklahoma and Texas, demanded the government clarify its legal precedent and whether it would seek to cut funding from schools that will not admit students to the bathrooms, locker rooms, dormitories and athletic teams of their choice.
Morrisey also sent a separate letter that told state and county officials the directive has no force of law and that his office would fight any use of the directive to eliminate more than a billion in federal funding to local schools.
“School policies should be set at the local level – not by presidential decree,” Morrisey wrote to state and county officials. “Do not allow the president’s effort to unilaterally change the 40-year-old terms under which we accepted federal school funding – a naked bait-and-switch – to intimidate you.”
In a letter addressed Wednesday to state officials and every county school board, Morrisey argued President Obama is trying to limit school control and use school funding as leverage to force his worldview onto local parents, students and communities.
“(President Obama) has determined to use the power of the federal government to bully the rest of the country,” Morrisey wrote.
Morrisey, acknowledging he does not set school policy, strongly urged state officials and county school boards to consider the federal “guidance” as having no force of law.
He also advised that several school systems already permitting students to access facilities of the opposite biological sex are being sued for invasions of the rights of other students.
Just last week, Morrisey led nine states in asking the full, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, to review and reconsider a panel’s 2-1 decision, involving a transgender student in Gloucester County, Virginia.
The Gloucester County case remains subject to challenge and did not address the legality of anything as wide-ranging or sweeping as the Justice and Education Department’s directive.
The joint letter requests answers from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education by Tuesday, May 24.
To read the letters, go to the Attorney General’s website at www.ago.wv.gov.