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Schools react to new bathroom guidelines for transgender students

Mid-Missouri districts and schools across the country are reading through a letter sent out by the U.S Department of Education. It details guidelines for schools on best practices for handling transgender student issues.

U.S. Department of Education officials said the letter was sent because many districts across the country have questions and concerns about transgender students.

The letter states that if a parent or the student notify the school that a student is transgender, the school must treat the student as the gender that matches the student’s identity, even if their identification shows differently.

Furthermore, schools can’t make students bring in a birth certificate before recognizing them as the gender with which they identify.

The letter also states that schools are obligated to let students use bathrooms and other sex-segregated facilities consistent with their identity.

Several school district officials in Mid-Missouri said administrators and teachers make accommodations on a case-by-case basis.

“We would want to work together for a solution that’s best for them, as well as best for our school district. We always strive to put students first,” said Christopher Felmlee, superintendent for Southern Boone School District.

The letter states that any school receiving federal aid can’t discriminate based on a student’s sex, which includes a student’s gender identity.

The Obama administration points out that school districts that fail to follow the directive could face lawsuits or lose federal aid.

A couple of district officials said they will continue to read through the guidelines with legal council and make accommodations to comply with the Department of Education.

Click here to read theJoint letter from Departments of Justice & Educationthat was sent Friday.

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