There has been significant controversy surrounding the use of bathrooms by transgender individuals. Schools have a responsibility to provide proper transgender bathroom access while staying within the local, state, and federal laws. The fight for bathroom use has been taken to the U.S. court system. While the laws may be modified in the future, the U.S. government has provided a directive that comes from the Department of Education and the Justice Department.

Statement from Attorney General

The U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, made a statement regarding transgender bathroom access policies. She said, in part, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex”.  The directive is part of a formal guidance letter that has been sent to schools. While the letter does not impose new laws regarding bathroom access, it is provided as a guideline that schools are encouraged to follow in order to be compliant with Title IX.

U.S. Guidelines

The guidelines provided by the U.S. government state that public schools must allow every transgender students the use of bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity. This is not a law, but instead is a directive that comes from the Obama administration. Schools are encouraged to follow the guidelines provided. The directive was sent to schools in April 2016.

School Policy

According to the directive, schools are required to treat transgender students in ways that match their gender identities, regardless of the gender that is notated on their school records or identity documents. Schools must take the steps necessary to address these concerns so that all students are comfortable with the policies and procedures in place. By taking swift measures to address bathroom and locker room policies, many potential problems can be avoided later on.

Stay Informed

School administrators need to stay informed about the current laws and guidelines that impact their facilities. The controversy regarding bathroom access is still in a state of flux.  Currently, it is advisable to follow the guidelines provided in the directive that came from federal sources. However, it is important to note that the guidelines and laws regarding bathroom access could change at any time. Therefore, it is important to remain cognizant of new legislation as it is put into place. If you have any questions regarding bathroom access, contact an experienced education law attorney to ensure that you are in compliance with the latest laws.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Transgender Bathroom Access, or any Education Law matter, please feel free to contact 480.461.5300, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.