Schools Stand By Transgender Policies After Trump Reverses Obama Rule

CHICAGO (CBS) — President Donald Trump has lifted the Obama administration’s policies requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity, but the decision likely means little for existing policies in Illinois.

The president’s move leaves it up to individual states and school districts to decide their own policies on transgender bathroom use, but there’s no going back for the Chicago Public Schools.

“I want to be clear that the City of Chicago’s and Chicago Public Schools policies providing equal rights to transgender residents and students will remain unchanged. Chicago will stay steadfast in our commitment to fight for equality and against discrimination in all its forms,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Wednesday night.

Even before then-President Barack Obama issued the directive regarding transgender bathroom use, CPS allowed transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

“CPS led the way among school districts on bathroom policies for transgender students and staff, and we have no intention of backing down no matter what President Trump does to discriminate against the LGBTQ community,” CPS spokeswoman Emily Bittner said in an email.

The state’s second largest school district, Elgin-based District U-46, also said it will keep its existing guidelines in place allowing students access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Several other suburban school districts also will keep their existing rules in place, including Berwyn South School District 100. All eight elementary schools in the district offer transgender students the option of a neutral gender bathroom, or one of their choosing.

Palatine Township High School District 211 has not said yet if it plans to reverse a decision made in 2015 to allow transgender students to use the bathroom or locker rooms of the gender they identify with. The school agreed to change its policy on transgender bathroom use, after the U.S. Department of Education under President Obama said it was violating the law by not allowing a transgender student unlimited access to the girls’ locker room.

A group called Students and Parents for Privacy later challenged the new policy last year, claiming it violates privacy expectations.

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