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SF leaders call Trump reversal of transgender bathroom directive ‘misguided’

Public schools in San Francisco will continue to allow students to use restrooms matching their gender identity despite the Trump administration reversing a federal policy on transgender bathrooms Wednesday.

The guidance from President Barack Obama directed schools to let students use restrooms that match their gender identity. The decision to lift the directive allows states and school districts to interpret federal anti-discrimination laws.

Mayor Ed Lee joined San Francisco Unified School District leaders to condemn the “misguided act” from President Donald Trump in a joint statement Wednesday.

“At a time when civil rights are under attack, we will continue to work locally to protect all of our residents from harassment and discrimination,” the mayor said in a statement with Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh and Board of Education President Shamann Walton.

“All students deserve to learn in an atmosphere that is free of fear and discrimination,” the statement reads. “While attending school, no child should feel overwhelmed by the simple decision of which bathroom to use, or fear the consequences of entering a locker room.”

The news comes nine months after Obama threatened to withhold federal money from schools that didn’t allow students to use bathrooms matching their gender.

“I’ve made this clear and the president’s made it clear throughout the campaign that he is a firm believer in states’ rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily briefing Wednesday.

Jeff Sheehy, an openly gay member of the Board of Supervisors, said “moving backwards in our path toward equality is unacceptable.”

“As a public school parent, I’m outraged and saddened that he would deny young people respect, dignity and the ability to live as their authentic selves,” Sheehy said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be surprised given how little regard he gives to public education in the first place.”

The SFUSD was the first district to offer specific protections to transgender students in 2003, according to Walton.

Tribune News Service and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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