Bathroom guidelines for transgender students leave Pence, Ritz at odds 

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Gov. Mike Pence Friday said the federal government has “no business” in mandating all public schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.

“I have long believed that education is a state and local function,” Pence said in a statement. “Policies regarding the security and privacy of students in our schools should be in the hands of Hoosier parents and local schools, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC.”

The letter, issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, does not carry the force of law, but does indicate that schools could lose federal funding if they do not comply.

Meanwhile, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz rallied behind the guidelines created by the Obama administration.

“In Indiana, we have already seen schools take steps to ensure that their students and staff feel safe regardless of race, religion, sex or gender identity,” Ritz said in a statement. “I will support their efforts, and will continue to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and welcoming environment.”

The guidelines come as the Obama administration and North Carolina battle in court over the state’s new law requiring people to use the bathroom based on their gender at birth.

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