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Obama administration tells schools to allow transgender bathroom access

Asserting That There Is No Room For Discrimination, The Obama Administration Today Issued A New Set Of Guidelines To Schools Asking Them To Allow Transgender Students To Use Bathroom Facilities Matching Their Gender Identity.

PTI | Updated on: 14 May 2016, 10:04:17 AM


Asserting that there is no room for discrimination, the Obama Administration today issued a new set of guidelines to schools asking them to allow transgender students to use bathroom facilities matching their gender identity.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” said Attorney General Loretta E Lynch, after she issued the guidelines along with the Education Secretary John B King.

This guidance gives administrators, teachers and parents the tools they need to protect transgender students from peer harassment and to identify and address unjust school policies, she said Observing that no student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus, King said this guidance further clarifies that gender identity is protected. 

“Educators want to do the right thing for students, and many have reached out to us for guidance on how to follow the law.  We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence,” King said.

“Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow.  And we know that teachers and administrators care deeply about all of their students and want them to succeed in school and life,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The guidance sends a clear message to transgender students across the country—here in America, you are safe, you are protected and you belong—just as you are, she said.

In an election year, such a direction immediately took a political overtone with Republican-ruled state government slamming the Obama Administration on this.

The move comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding the so-called ‘bathroom law’ in North Carolina. Because of the differences, the state of North Carolina and the federal government sued each other last week.

The Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called the letter as a blackmail.

However, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest asserted that this is not an enforcement action.

“This is not an enforcement action. This does not add any additional requirements to any school district or state under the applicable law,” he said.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was seen reluctant to criticise the Obama Administration on this.

He said the transgender issue should be left to states.

“I believe it should be states’ rights and I think the states should make the decision, they’re more capable of making the decision,” Trump told ABC News.

However, the move was welcomed by several lawmakers.

“LGBT students like any other students should never feel like they don't belong,” said Senator Al Franken.

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First Published : 14 May 2016, 09:51:00 AM