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Local schools' transgender student policies will remain unchanged following Trump administration lift on federal protections

Central Maryland schools do not anticipate changes to policy after federal transgender guidelines lifted.

President Donald Trump's recent lifting of federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identities may not have much impact on local schools.

Officials from Central Maryland school systems say they do not anticipate any changes to policy after the Obama-era guideline was lifted Wednesday.

"We are making no changes to our guidelines," said Bob Mosier, a spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

He said the Trump administration letter provided no new guidance, and that the school system follows guidelines issued by the Maryland State Department of Education even before the federal directive was issued last May.

The state guideline allows students to use restrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, and many school local schools districts followed that policy.

The decision by the White House now gives states and school districts the right to interpret existing federal anti-discrimination law.

Bill Reinhard, a spokesman for the state education department, said Thursday that officials have not made any determinations based on the Trump administration's action.

"We're reviewing it right now to see what kind of changes, if any need to be made," Reinhard said.

Baltimore County public schools spokesman Mychael Dickerson said the schools system continues to follow state guidelines, but "even prior to that time our school administrators were working directly with students and their families to accommodate students' needs on a case by case."

Similarly, officials with Baltimore City, Harford County, and the University System of Maryland, which includes 12 higher education institutions across the state, said they also do not anticipate any changes to current policies.

"The School Board reaffirms its commitment to embracing all students and ensuring an educational environment free of harassment, discrimination, intimidation, and bullying," said Edie House-Foster, a Baltimore City schools spokeswoman.

The local response seems to be the very outcome the Trump administration expected and wanted.

"This is an issue best solved at the state and local level," said Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. "Schools, communities and families can find — and in many cases have found — solutions that protect all students."

In Carroll County, officials say they are waiting for a ruling in a Supreme Court case on the issue. A transgender teen in Virginia sued his school system to allow him access to the boys' bathroom. Arguments are scheduled to be heard before the court in March.

Steven Johnson, the assistant superintendent of instruction for Carroll County schools, said school system attorneys have advised the school system to "maintain the status quo" until a ruling is made.

Transgender students in Carroll County schools can use bathrooms and locker rooms of their birth gender, or they can use a separate bathroom, Johnson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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