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Minneapolis, St. Paul schools say Trump decision won't change their transgender policies

The government announced it would remove federal guidelines requiring schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities,
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The school districts of St. Paul and Minneapolis have both pledged to support its transgender students following Wednesday's decision by the Trump administration.

The government announced it would remove federal guidelines requiring schools to let students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities, with press secretary Sean Spicer saying President Trump believes it's a "states rights" issue.

But two of Minnesota's biggest school districts said Thursday it would not change the way it approaches transgender issues, with St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent John Thein saying in a statement it will "continue to ensure that all students - including transgender and gender non-conforming students - have equitable access to safe and inclusive programming, athletics, and facilities."

"At SPPS, every student has the right to a welcoming and inclusive education. Each student, with their complete and multiple identities including race, class, culture, language, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation and ability is welcome in our schools every day," he added.

WCCO reports that Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff released a similar statement in support of transgender students and staff Thursday.

"MPS will continue to provide welcoming and affirming learning environments, and our protections for transgender students and staff – whom we are proud to support – will remain the same today as they were yesterday," he said.

Dayton: It's a human rights issue.

The stances of the school districts were echoed by Governor Mark Dayton, who said at a press conference that it's not a "states' rights issue – it's a human rights issue," the Star Tribune reports.

He is urging the state's school districts to adhere to the previously rescinded guidance.

But the ACLU's legal director Teresa Nelson told the newspaper that lifting the federal guidelines shouldn't change schools' obligations, as denying transgender students using the locker rooms or bathrooms of their choice would be considered sex discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

One group that is backing the Trump decision is the Minnesota Family Council, which previously campaigned against allowing transgender student-athletes competing in Minnesota High School League Sports.

On Thursday, it called the removal of the Obama Administration's guidance "common sense."

"School administrators are now released of the Obama Administration's funding threat and can freely adopt policies that compassionately accommodate students who struggle with biological realities without compromising the safety, privacy and safety of all other students," it said on Facebook.

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