Local reaction on recent trans directive issued

Posted at 12:34 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 13:36:12-04

The Obama administration and the Department of Justice sent a directive to public schools regarding transgender students this week.

They say schools need to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of the gender in which they identify.

Local reaction to the directive varies, with some saying it’s the right thing to do and others calling it an act of overreach.

“I think everybody gets too upset about that subject. You know, people just want to go to the bathroom, and if you have individual stalls, I don’t think that should be a problem,” said Mike Meshling.

Some say the federal government is deciding something the state’s should have right to do.

“It just seems like these regulations are just never going to end — and compliance — but this one, I think, is particularly egregious,” said Cam Campbell.

The directive issued Friday could result in the loss of federal funding for schools that don’t comply, according to multiple reports.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says on the issue “there is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including against transgender students on the basis of their sex.”

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says, “I believe this is an outrageous overreach by the federal government. It nearly defies belief that the Obama Administration now wants to direct how Oklahoma schools and districts operate our bathrooms. Furthermore, I find it disturbing that this ‘joint guidance’ carries an implicit threat of loss of federal funds. In the midst of a historic funding crisis for public education, schools should not be burdened with this sort of overreach yet again. Educators have a responsibility to ensure that every child is safe, treated with respect, and given the opportunity to learn. Oklahoma schools know the needs of our students and communities, and meeting those needs should solely remain a matter of local control.”

Jenks Public Schools sent a statement saying, “At Jenks Public Schools, it is our priority to meet the needs of all students. Regarding transgender students and the use of restroom facilities, it is our practice to evaluate the needs of those students on a case-by-case basis and accommodate those students in a manner which is respectful not only to the transgender students but to all students enrolled at Jenks Public Schools.”

Sand Springs Public Schools did not make an official comment regarding the initiative but says the district has "always been attentive to unique needs of students." 

Tulsa Public Schools sent a statement saying, "It is our commitment at Tulsa Public Schools that every student in our district is safe and respected, and that is reflected in our policies and guidelines.