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Walsh blasts Trump over transgender policy in schools

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke at a protest against Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration at Copley Square in January. Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Thursday denounced President Trump’s controversial decision this week to strip federal protection guidelines for transgender students in schools across the country.

“The Trump administration’s reckless actions last night undermine the promise of civil rights and equal protection for all in this country,” Walsh said in a statement. “Revoking the clarified protections for transgender students sends a message that they are not worthy of this promise.”

The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it was rescinding protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity, a sharp reversal of the policy set forth under former president Barack Obama.


Despite the administration's stance, Walsh vowed that the city would continue to “step up” and protect students in Boston, and shield them from discrimination.

In a letter sent to students, parents, faculty, and staff on Thursday, Boston Superintendent Tommy Chang also reaffirmed the district’s commitment to fostering a safe and welcoming learning environment for everyone.

Chang said although the federal protections were scaled back, transgender and gender nonconforming students “will remain protected from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

“BPS policies permit students to participate in programs and use facilities consistent with their gender identity,” he said in the letter. “The Boston Public Schools will continue to maintain our practice and culture of respect for all students and employees, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.”

On Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker said he was “disappointed” with the Trump administration’s move to lift federal protections.

In July, Baker signed into law a transgender public accommodations bill allowing people in Massachusetts to use bathroom facilities based on their gender identity. The law also protects transgender individuals from discrimination in public spaces.

“I do believe that here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts... kids are going to be protected and kids are going to be able to feel safe,” Baker said.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Globe correspondent Felicia Gans contributed to this report. Laura Krantz, of the Globe Staff, contributed to this report.