White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the Justice and Education departments are reviewing current federal guidance on transgender bathroom use in public schools. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Republican President Donald Trump's administration was expected to revoke landmark guidelines issued to public schools in defense of transgender student rights, according to a draft document seen on Wednesday by Reuters. The draft reverses former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature initiative on transgender rights, which instructed public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity. "I would expect further guidance to come out on that today," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing on Wednesday. The draft document, a joint effort of the Justice and Education departments, could be subject to change before it is sent to schools across the country. Its issuance was delayed by a disagreement between two members of Trump's Cabinet, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushing for a repeal of the Obama guidance and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resisting, according to advocacy groups that have been in contact with administration officials. Spicer, however, denied any serious division, saying, "There is no daylight between anybody, between the president, between any of the secretaries" and that DeVos was in agreement "100 percent." The document states that its purpose is to withdraw the guidance of May 13, 2016, while Trump's Justice and Education departments "further consider the legal issues involved." Last year's guidance, issued by Obama's Justice and Education departments, threatened to withhold federal funding if schools forced transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender assigned at birth against their will. Conservatives have raised fears about men or boys claiming to be transgender in order to spy or prey on women or girls in public restrooms. Under the new guidelines, public schools could set their own rules without fear of losing federal funds or a lawsuit from the Justice Department.