Mississisippi Department of Education Sides with State Leaders on Trans Student Guidelines | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mississisippi Department of Education Sides with State Leaders on Trans Student Guidelines

On Friday, May 13, the Mississippi Department of Education agreed to adhere to Title IX and the Obama administration’s directive to protect transgender students. Today, the state board of education backtracked and said they would follow the state leaderships' lead. Photo by Imani Khayyam

On Friday, May 13, the Mississippi Department of Education agreed to adhere to Title IX and the Obama administration’s directive to protect transgender students. Today, the state board of education backtracked and said they would follow the state leaderships' lead. Photo by Imani Khayyam

— Mississippi's Board of Education is voting to follow state political leaders' opposition to federal guidance on use of bathrooms and locker rooms by transgender students.

The board made the 9-0 vote Tuesday.

The move came after state Superintendent Carey Wright came under sharp criticism for the department's initial stance that Mississippi's state education officials would follow the federal guidance. It calls for transgender students to be treated in accord with their currently identified gender. After opposition from Gov. Phil Bryant and lawmakers, Wright retracted that statement and said she'd consult with board members.

Majorities of the state House and Senate signed strongly worded letters demanding that the board oppose the guidance, and Bryant wants the state to defy the guidance. Some letters called for Wright to be disciplined or fired.

The Mississippi State Board of Education on Federal Guidance issued this statement this afternoon:

“After a briefing from the Mississippi Department of Education’s legal staff and an in-depth discussion by the Mississippi State Board of Education, the Board has decided to support the position of the state leadership regarding the recent release of the federal guidance letter.

The Board supports the local districts and commends them for working within their communities to make decisions in the best interests of their students.”

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