Gwinnett: transgender students can use gender-neutral restrooms

Gwinnett County school officials criticized a new federal policy directing school districts to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities of their choice, but say those students can use gender-neutral facilities.

Georgia’s largest school district published a statement on its website dated Sunday in response to a federal directive issued Friday that said public school districts should allow transgender students to use restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities they believe best reflect their gender identity.

The statement, though, blasted the directive. It said, in part, that local school districts should decide such issues and described the guidelines as federal “overreach.”

“Given the unique safety and privacy concerns of elementary and secondary school students, this issue should be handled at the local level where school leadership can best address the needs of its students in accordance with the shared values of order, fairness, and respect,” the statement said.

The federal directive notes while it is not a law, school districts could lose federal funding if they do not comply. Many conservative Georgia lawmakers and activists have denounced the directive. A few have said they should forgo the federal funding. Georgia will receive about $2 billion this budget year in federal education funding.

A Gwinnett spokeswoman said Friday it does not collect data detailing how many transgender students there are in the school district.

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