By Eugene Scott
WASHINGTON — A group of Republican senators rejected the Obama Administration’s guidelines on transgender students and bathrooms, arguing that schools should be free to devise their own guidelines.
“Every transgender person is someone’s child and should be treated with respect. But that does not justify a federal executive agency acting as a national school board telling 100,000 public schools how to resolve this issue,” the 25 senators wrote Thursday in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education John King.
“It may be appropriate for the U.S. Department of Education to answer questions or issue guidance about its opinion of the existing law. But federal law does not require states and school districts to follow that guidance. Until Congress or the courts settle the federal law, states and school districts are free to devise their own reasonable solutions,” the Senators added.
The Obama administration recently issued guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.
A joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice went to schools with guidelines to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” the Obama administration said.
CNN has reached out to the Justice and Education departments for comment on Thursday’s letter.
Public school leaders should be left alone in determining how to determine which bathrooms transgender students may use, the senators wrote.
“Deciding which bathroom, locker room, or shower transgender students should use is the kind of issue the states, parents, school boards, communities, students, and teachers should work out in a practical way with a maximum amount of respect for the individual rights of the students who are transgender as well as the rights of those who are not,” the letter said.