The Trump administration plans to roll back protection for transgender students, reversing federal guidance that required public schools to allow children to use bathrooms that matched their gender identities.
In a letter to schools, administration officials plan to say they are withdrawing guidance issued by the Obama administration that found that denying transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choice violates federal prohibitions against sex discrimination.
A draft of the letter was obtained by the Washington Post.
“This interpretation has given rise to significant litigation,” said the two-page draft, which indicated that the Education and Justice departments plan to issue it jointly.
The draft mentioned that administrators, parents and students “struggled to understand and apply the statements of policy” in the Obama-era guidance, said the report.
As a result, the departments “have decided to withdraw and rescind the above-referenced guidance documents in order to further consider the legal issues involved”.
The letter, according to the Post, mentioned that schools must protect all students and that the withdrawal of the guidance “does not diminish the protections from bullying and harassment…
“Schools must ensure that transgender students are able to learn in a safe environment.”
Civil rights advocates said the possible rollback of protection would represent a significant setback for the gay rights movement, which made enormous gains under President Barack Obama, the New York Times reported.
Trump believes that “this is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government”, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
Transgender advocates said they are worried that undoing the protections put in place by the Obama administration would open the door to further discrimination against transgender students.