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US President Donald Trump’s administration revokes Transgender Bathroom Rules

Donald Trump's administration revoked landmark guidance to the country's schools letting transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice

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FILE - A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, N.C., May 3, 2016. VOA

Washington, Feb 23, 2017: US President Donald Trump’s administration revoked landmark guidance to the country’s schools letting transgender students use the bathrooms of their choice, reversing a signature initiative of former President Barack Obama.

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In a joint letter on Wednesday, the top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected the Obama administration’s position that non-discrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, the New York Times reported.

The two-page “Dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration, was sent to the nation’s public schools and it did not offer any new guidance.

Instead, it said that the earlier directive needed to be withdrawn because it lacked extensive legal analysis, did not go through a public vetting process, sowed confusion and drew legal challenges, the New York Times report said.

The letter stated that the earlier directive was improperly and arbitrarily devised, “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy”.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said: “We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that his department “has a duty to enforce the law” and criticised the Obama administration’s guidance as lacking sufficient legal basis, reported ABC News.

Sessions wrote that the Department of Justice remains committed to the “proper interpretation” and and enforcement of the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.”

Gay rights supporters made their displeasure clear after the move. Outside the White House, several hundred people protested the decision, waving rainbow flags and chanting, “No hate, no fear, trans students are welcome here”.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “Transgender young people face tragically high rates of discrimination and bullying, and they need a government that will stand up for them — not attack them.”

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American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) LGBT project director James Esseks said: “Revoking the guidance shows that the President’s promise to protect LGBT rights was just empty rhetoric… School districts that recognise that should continue doing the right thing; for the rest, we’ll see them in court.”

The new letter scrambled the calculus for a number of lawsuits working their way through the courts, particularly the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender Virginia teenager who sued his school board for barring him from the boys’ restroom.

The case is scheduled for oral arguments before the US Supreme Court in March. Grimm said he was disheartened that the Trump administration is withdrawing Obama’s guidance which was “incredibly empowering”. (IANS)

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Authorities Urge Schools in London to be Sugar-Free by 2022

British Department for Education still allows schools nationwide to serve sugary items at lunchtime

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Authorities, Schools, London
Many schools in London, however, have voluntarily become sugar-free. Pixabay

Every school in London should be “sugar-free” by 2022, health authorities said in a new report.

At least one in four children across London suffer from tooth decay by the age of five, with some regions more severe than the others, according to the report released by London Assembly Health Committee on Wednesday.

“Sugar is one of the biggest causes,” a spokesperson for the Assembly was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

One of the main precautions the report listed is to set all London schools “sugar-free” by 2022, which “means no sugary drinks, crisps or chocolate are allowed in packed lunches”, the spokesperson added.

Authorities, Schools, London
At least one in four children across London suffer from tooth decay by the age of five. Pixabay

British Department for Education still allows schools nationwide to serve sugary items at lunchtime, including desserts, cakes and biscuits.

Many schools in London, however, have voluntarily become sugar-free.

Some have gone further to ban all carbonated beverages with or without sugar, only serving water instead, the report said.

The report called for supervised teeth-brushing in schools and suggested that every kid see a dentist by age one.

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It also advised London Mayor Sadiq Khan to appoint a dental specialist to a government project against child obesity. (IANS)