FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 23, 2017
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley confirms that the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice have withdrawn their directive to school districts that threatened both civil rights litigation and the withholding of educational funds to the States.
In June 2016, Attorney General Jackley joined 23 other State Attorneys General and Governors to successfully challenge the federal government’s authority to mandate a federal bathroom and locker room policy for school children that threatened lawsuits and the withholding of educational funds.
"As Attorney General it was and remains my hope that our country and state can find a solution to the transgender concerns without forcing children of the opposite sex into the same bathrooms and locker rooms. The federal government’s attempt to require children of opposite sex to share locker rooms and bathrooms under the threat of lawsuit and withholding of education funding was not the right solution and went beyond its constitutional authority. I am pleased that the federal government will not continue working to withhold educational funding or be filing lawsuit against schools,” said Jackley.
South Dakota had previously joined 24 other states in parallel lawsuits filed in Texas and Nebraska against the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice. The challenge was initiated by a letter threatening states with loss of all educational funding under Title IX unless every public school in the country allowed students to select restrooms, showers and dormitories based on their expressed gender identity. A court recently entered a nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the letter, and withholding of education funding, which applies nationally.