Trump Administration announces transgender bathroom guideline changes for schools

Trump Administration announces transgender bathroom guideline changes for schools

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - On Wednesday, the Trump Administration sent letters to all public schools in the nation notifying them of a change to the transgender bathroom guidelines originally set in place by the Obama Administration in August of 2016.

The old guidelines required public schools to allow their transgender students to choose which bathroom they would prefer to use, regardless of what gender they were born.

The new guidelines will remove the federal control over the issue, and leave it up to the states and school superintendents to decide whether students should be allowed to choose or not.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case in March. Until then, nothing new will go into effect.

WMBF News has been following the life of "R", a transgender student who has struggled with his identity at school for years.

He has since graduated, but a few years back, "R" was suspended from his high school when a staff member found his health records and discovered he was born a girl, yet had been using the boy's bathroom.

His mother, who would also like to remain anonymous, told WMBF News that she and her family were very hurt to hear of the change.

"If somebody's got to go to the bathroom just let them go to the bathroom. Why does it matter as long as they're being appropriate," said the mother.

However, Horry County School Board Chairman Joe DeFeo disagrees with her, and worries about the privacy of all the children.

"If students choose to not have someone who they consider the other gender in the restroom with them, I think that privacy right should be protected," said DeFeo.

He also believes that the bigger problem with the original guidelines was that it gave the federal government too much control over state schools.

"I don't at all believe Washington should be dictating their morals to the local parents in the community," said DeFeo.

Now, it will be up to the schools to interpret whether federal sex discrimination law applies to gender identity.

The anonymous mother believes this is a step in the wrong direction.

"It does feel like we're going backwards here, but I'm actually kind of confident that the school board in our district is going to maintain their stance of abiding by the court ruling that they need to allow this according to the law," said the mother.

DeFeo also agrees that it is unlikely anything will change locally in Horry County.

"I believe Horry County will stay exactly how it is. We let the superintendent handle everything on a very careful and individual basis," said Defeo.

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