Parents react to Obama guidelines on transgender bathroom use

JACKSON, Tenn. — The White House weighs in on how public schools across the country should treat transgender students when it comes to bathroom and locker room access.

SCHOOLThe Obama Administration ordered public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their current gender identity.

“I just think it’s wrong,” Latonya Smith, a parent, said.

“I think that it’s a good plan,” another parent, Billie Arnold, said.

Smith said she has five children and some concerns. “I don’t want my children exposed to certain things, you know? That’s why they’re children,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter with guidelines Friday. The directive is not law. It states transgender students cannot be discriminated against and should be treated consistent with their gender identity, even if it differs from school records.

“I think that if they’re forced to go into the other side, the other bathroom, it’s setting them up for fights and being harmed,” Arnold said.

Jackson-Madison County School Board Chairman David Clifft released a statement saying: “It’s ridiculous. Boys should go in the boys restrooms and girls should go in the girls restrooms.”

“We’re going to look into it, study it and seek counsel from the school board attorney,” Jackson-Madison County School Board Member Dave Bratcher said.

The letter warns noncompliance could cost schools federal funding.

Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander issued a statement saying: “This is the kind of issue that parents, schools boards, communities, students and teachers should be allowed to work out in a practical way with a maximum amount of respect for the individual rights of all students. Insofar as the federal government goes, it’s up to Congress to write the law, not the executive departments. And guidance issued by the departments does not amount to federal law and should not be treated as such.”

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