Schools react to transgender letter from Obama

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-14 08:53:18-04

Cameron Schraufstetter said high school years weren't always easy.

“The main thing was bathrooms and locker rooms because they are separate and I didn’t feel that I could safely use the bathroom.”

That's because this now 21-year-old was in the process of transitioning from a woman to a man. “It got to the point where I didn't use the restroom in school anymore.”

Cameron said the federal guidelines would've drastically improved his quality of life, and he's glad to know others won't have to suffer like he did.

The eight-page letter outlines transgender policies public schools must follow. It says transgender students should be allowed to use the restroom and locker room based on their gender identity, and they shouldn't be discriminated against.

The subject itself is nothing new in western New York. A spokesman for Buffalo Public Schools called it welcome news. In a statement, he said, “In Buffalo, we have already been implementing its key measures and now have clear guidance on best practices.” The statement goes on to say:, “This is an important and long-awaited moment in public education.”

In December, the Hamburg Central School Board voted to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room with which they identify. Lancaster tabled the idea last year after getting a lot of criticism from the public.

The transgender community is praising the Obama administration for taking charge. “I think this is a huge stride, huge, huge step for the transgender community,” said Schraufstetter.

The guidelines aren’t legally binding. But, districts could risk losing federal funding if they don’t comply. 

To read the letter, click here.