GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – If courts rule North Carolina’s House Bill 2 is discriminatory and goes against Title IX, federal funding received by the state could be at risk.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District, which covers North Carolina, ruled Tuesday in favor of a transgender teen in Virginia who brought a lawsuit against his school for not allowing him to use the bathroom of the gender he identified with.
The court supported a precedence set by the Department of Education that said denying transgender students the right to choose the bathroom of the gender they identify with violates Title IX.
If found in violation, North Carolina could face a difficult decision to avoid losing federal funding. During the 2015-2016 school year, state public schools received $861 million in federal funding, which excluded child nutrition.
“There are millions of dollars at risk here,” said Beaufort County Teacher Uriah Ward. “If that were to disappear, especially with the shortage we already have, I’m really not sure how it would be made up.”
Ward is in his first year of teaching in Beaufort County, a school district that receives around $6.8 million from the federal government each year.
In Pitt County, schools receive around $35 million from the federal government, while Onslow County Schools receive around $22 million and Craven County Schools receive $8.7 million.
“They’re putting at risk the federal funding, that keeps flowing through our entire education system here in North Carolina,” said Aaron Lucier with Equality NC.
Some in support of HB2 said their opinions have nothing to do with the LGBT community, but more about safety for their kids.
“I can’t fight against a 200 pound man for the safety of my children if he’s in there with ill intentions, and that’s what I’m more concerned about,” said Frances Allen, a mother of five.
Allen said she doesn’t think punishing innocent kids is the right way to go.
“I don’t think it’s fair to take away funding from children or jeopardize their safety,” she said.
Deborah Ross (D), candidate for U.S. Senate, called out her opponent, current Sen. Richard Burr (R), for his inaction on the issue.
“North Carolina needs a U.S. Senator who will speak out when bad laws threaten our people’s civil rights, their jobs and the education dollars their children rely on,” she said in a statement. “HB2 is bad for North Carolina and leaders from Raleigh to Washington need to work to repeal it.”
Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) released a statement calling actions from liberal leadership an attack on the state.
“People need to wake up: Roy Cooper, Barack Obama and two unelected federal judges are on the verge of completing their radical social re-engineering of our society by forcing middle school-aged girls to share school locker rooms with boys. House Bill 2 was our effort to stop this insanity, and I hope this proves the bathroom safety bill has nothing to do with discrimination and everything to do with protecting women’s privacy and keeping men out of girls’ bathrooms.”
Gov. Pat McCrory said he disagrees with the court’s ruling and will evaluate its impact on existing legislation in the state.