Arkansas gov tells schools: Disregard Obama on trans rights

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.)

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) AP

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is recommending public schools disregard an Obama administration directive that they must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.

The Republican governor on Friday criticized the directive as “social engineering,” and said schools should use common sense to maintain a healthy and safe environment. The guidance from leaders at the federal departments of Education and Justice says public schools are obligated to treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, even if their education records or identity documents indicate a different sex.

The guidance doesn’t impose new legal requirements, but rather clarifies expectations for districts receiving federal funds. Hutchinson said the guidance isn’t legally binding.

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