Obama administration issues guidelines on transgender bathrooms in public schools

Obama administration issues guidelines on transgender bathrooms in public schools

(WTVM) - The White House is strongly encouraging every public school in the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

The Obama Administration issued guidance on the issue Friday, directing schools on the policies. This comes as debates take place around the country over which bathrooms transgender people should be allowed to use.

Muscogee School reps have received those guidelines but are waiting until Monday to review them. We also sought comment from Phenix City and Russell County schools with no calls returned as of Friday.

Heated opinions are boiling over now that the Obama Administration says they will be guiding and encouraging public schools across the country to allow transgender students access to bathrooms of the sex for which they identify.

Signed by the Departments of Justice and Education, the letter cites transgender and anti-discriminatory laws.

While not an order, the letter sends the message that schools who do not comply with emerging practices could face loss of federal funding.

The move is already getting praise and backlash in our area.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange issued a statement, which says in part, "School bathroom use is an issue that should be decided by parents, teachers, and principals- not federal bureaucrats."

Local advocates say those in the LGBT community simply want to use the restroom in peace.

"We're not taking anything away from these people, when we go to the bathroom all we want to do is go in there, go to the bathroom, and get in and get out. We are not in there to look under the stalls, or mess with people or anything like that," said Jeremy Hobbs, Columbus LGBT advocate.

Muscogee County School officials say they will discuss the issue next week and make a decision if anything needs to be changed for schools in Columbus. They added that they will abide by the law like they do for all situations. 

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