White House Suggests ‘Just Putting Up Curtains’ Will Protect Privacy in Transgender Locker Rooms

By Melanie Arter | May 13, 2016 | 3:11 PM EDT

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) – White House Spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday that the Department of Education issued specific suggestions today along with its directive that federally funded schools nationwide must allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to their "gender identity" and that one of those suggestions was "just putting up curtains" in school locker rooms.

“There are some school districts across the country that have sought to enhance the privacy of their students by making relatively minor changes to shared use facilities,” Earnest said. “In some cases that means just putting up curtains, so that people are, have more privacy when they are changing their clothes or taking showers in what had previously been shared use facilities.”

The Department of Education and Justice Department issued guidance on Friday saying public schools nationwide must treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity – not their biological sex.

“The challenge here is not to isolate anybody. It is not to discriminate against anybody. It’s not to make anybody unsafe. It is actually to ensure that our schools are as inclusive and respectful and safe as they can possibly be, and that’s why the guidance that we’ve put forward includes tangible specific suggestions for how that can be achieved,” Earnest said.

Earnest said putting up curtains in school locker rooms “is something that benefits all students, and that is what we are looking for – solutions that protect the safety and dignity of every single student in the school.”

When asked about the threat that schools who do not follow the government’s guidance on ensuring transgenders access to the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, Earnest said it is his “strongly held belief” that most schools, school districts, and administrators “will welcome this guidance and will implement it.”

“For those that don’t, there is an established process for them to raise any concerns that they may have. There is an established process for that, and we’ll go through it, but the vast majority of schools and school administrators will incorporate this advice as they confront the challenge of ensuring that they’re promoting the kind of respectful, safe learning environment that can ensure the success of all of their students,” he said.