The School District of Philadelphia will not align with President Donald Trump’s order to overturn transgender bathroom protections, saying it will retain its bathroom policy to protect students.
“The School District of Philadelphia remains a safe and welcoming place of inclusion for all our students,” SuperintendentWilliam Hite said in a statement. “Every student deserves to know their rights will be recognized and upheld at school. This announcement will not change any school district policy or city law that protects our students.”
The Trump administration Wednesday revoked landmark guidelines issued to public schools by former President Barack Obama, which instructed public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
Asked at a news briefing about concerns over Trump reversing the legislation, which was seen as a civil rights victory, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president believes it’s an issue for states to decide.
“All you have to do is look at what the president’s view has been for a long time, that this is not something that the federal government should be involved in, that this is a states’ rights issue,” Spicer said.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos echoed that sentiment in a statement Wednesday: “This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students.”
“I have dedicated my career to advocating for and fighting on behalf of students,” DeVos said. “And as secretary of education, I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the department, but for every school in America.”
In June, the School District of Philadelphia passed a series of policies to protect its transgender students, including allowing them to be referred to by their pronoun of choice, and try out for the athletic team of their gender choice.