Indiana Education Leaders: Transgender School Equality Push Shouldn't Have Been A Surprise

May 13, 2016

A 2014 letter laid out the same plans that were reinforced Friday.
Credit NYC Department of Education /

A new directive to schools from the Obama Administration to accommodate transgender students isn't actually all that new.

Indiana School Boards Association attorney Lisa Tanselle says the government told schools two years ago to honor the bathroom and locker room preferences of transgender students.

She says Friday's letter to schools advises them to edit student records to reflect gender identity, and adds guidance for accommodations on overnight trips, but otherwise essentially reaffirms the stance that transgender students are covered by sex discrimination laws.

Tanselle says Indiana schools have handled requests from parents of transgender students on a case-by-case basis, rather than attempting to set a blanket policy.

The letter from the U-S Justice and Education Departments is not legally binding, but carries an implicit warning the government could sue or reduce federal funding to schools which don't comply.

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz says in a statement she supports the steps already taken in Indiana schools to make students of any gender identity, race or religion feel safe and welcome.