Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) on Friday sent out a statement telling school districts to ignore the “offensive” Obama administration directive requiring public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.
“The recent letter from the federal government providing guidance to Arkansas schools on gender identification is offensive, intrusive and totally lacking in common sense,” Hutchinson said in the statement. “There is no recognizable problem in Arkansas on this issue. The federal government is stirring the pot and meddling in the local control and administration of our schools.”
“As Governor, I recommend that local school districts disregard the latest attempt at social engineering by the federal government and continue to use common sense to ensure a safe and healthy environment in Arkansas schools,” he continued.
Federal officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department sent a letter Friday to school districts nationwide outlining the requirements of the directive. In a statement accompanying the letter, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex.”
Other state officials, including the attorney general and lieutenant governor of texas, have signaled that don’t plan to comply with the order.
The Obama administration’s letter comes as a wave of so-called “bathroom bills,” which require transgender people to use restrooms that align with their birth sex, swept state legislatures across the South.