Obama issues transgender bathroom directive

A new guidance from the Obama administration is calling on public schools across the country to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room that fits with their gender identity.

"As far as Rhode Island goes and superintendents go we have to follow the law and my understanding is the civil rights legislation provides for that,” said Tim Ryan the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Superintendents Association.

Ryan says all schools in the state already allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choosing.

"The most important thing is that these are kids these are our children and how do we support them and how do we have this as a teachable moment,” said Ryan.

The guidance comes amid a heated national debate on the subject. Currently, there are dueling lawsuits between the Department of Justice and the state of North Carlolina over the so called "bathroom law" requiring public school bathrooms and locker rooms to be separated by biological sex rather than gender identity.

For the most part, here in Rhode Island reaction to the President’s directive is positive.

"They should feel comfortable about where they want to use the bathroom,” said Damien Medina a Central High School Student.

"I really don’t have a problem with it to be perfectly honest,” said parent John Flynn.

"I think everybody should be able to use any kind of restroom it don’t matter if you are bisexual or transgender,” said Alejandro Hernandez a Central High School student.

But, some still aren’t comfortable with the idea.

"I don’t think they should use any bathroom they want because I wouldn’t want a transgender using the bathroom that I’m in. No disrespect. I don’t have anything against transgenders. But I just wouldn’t want to be in the same bathroom as one,” said Chiefkeef Sosa.

Many school districts in Rhode Island already have special policies in place on the issue including Cumberland and Westerly. An official from Providence tells ABC 6 News they’re working on a policy right now.

(C) WLNE 2016