Oklahoma City, OK– Today, the Office of the Oklahoma Attorney General sent a letter to Oklahoma State Representative Anthony Moore encouraging him to pass legislation making clear that school restrooms should be designated based on biological sex for privacy and safety purposes.
Our office has received concerns about the Stillwater Public School restroom policy and inaccurate guidance from the State Department of Education on this subject. To be clear, Oklahoma public schools are not required to allow biological males in women’s restrooms, or vice versa. Period. Joy Hoffmeister’s recent guidance to the contrary appears to come more from a political candidate than from the State Superintendent. Several years ago, when the Obama Administration insisted that state public schools must allow biological males to use women’s restrooms and locker rooms, Superintendent Hofmeister correctly slammed it, calling it an “outrageous overreach by the federal government” that “nearly defies belief.”
Now, unsurprisingly, the Biden Administration is taking similarly outrageous and dangerous positions in relation to school restrooms, locker rooms, and the like. My office has taken action to combat this brazen overreach. But rather than join us in defending Oklahomans, Superintendent Hofmeister is apparently telling Oklahoma schools that “legal precedent” means Oklahoma must kowtow to the Biden Administration’s shameless agenda.
This is simply not true. No precedent requires Oklahoma schools to comply with Biden policies on these issues. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Bostock decision, as wrong as it was, did not address gender identity and restrooms. Rather, the Supreme Court expressly stated in Bostock: “we do not purport to address bathrooms, locker rooms, or anything else of the kind.”
In short, what was true five years ago is still true now: Schools are not required to ignore biology when designating restrooms. The federal government’s overreach is still outrageous and unbelievable. And the Attorney General’s office will fight this overreach at every step, with or without support from the State Superintendent.
On April 8, we sent a letter to Stillwater Schools’ Interim Superintendent Gay Washington, State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister and Secretary of Education Ryan Walters making absolutely clear there is no legal requirement for such a policy. Oklahoma public schools are not required to reject biology and trample upon student privacy.
Yesterday afternoon our office received a request from Rep. Moore and other Oklahoma House members to give them similar guidance. Today, we sent Rep. Moore a letter reiterating that basing restrooms on biology is not against the law, and encouraging Rep. Moore while still in session to work toward passing legislation clarifying explicitly that policies like Stillwater schools are prohibited in Oklahoma.