The Trump administration is set to revoke federal guidelines telling public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identities, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing an anonymous government official with direct knowledge of the plan.
The move would roll back protections for transgender students issued by the Obama administration in May.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a press briefing Tuesday that President Donald Trump believes the issue should be left to the states to decide.
“I think that all you have to do is look at what the president’s view has been for a long time, that this is not something the federal government should be involved in, this is a states’ rights issue,” Spicer said.
Spicer said Wednesday to expect “further guidance” later in the day on transgender student bathroom use in public schools.
Trump administration officials in the Education and Justice departments plan to jointly send a letter to the nation’s schools on Wednesday saying they are withdrawing the guidance issued by the Obama administration, according to The Washington Post, which obtained a draft of the letter.
The draft says administrators, parents and students have “struggled to understand and apply the statements of policy” in the Obama-era directive.
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 adds that the reversal “does not diminish the protections from bullying and harassment that are available to all students. Schools must ensure that transgender students, like all students, are able to learn in a safe environment.”
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Although the Obama-era guidance could not be enforced by law, transgender rights advocates argued that it was necessary to protect children from discrimination.
Conservatives saw the guidance as overreach and said it should be a matter for the states. Texas led 13 states in filing a lawsuit to stop the directive, and a U.S. district judge in Texas temporarily halted its full implementation.
Backlash has already begun over the Trump administration’s plans.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday: “We affirm the right of every New Yorker to use the bathroom that fits their identity. A new president will not change our values.”