A draft document outlining how schools should treat transgender students is drawing criticism from advocacy groups.
Representatives of the Minnesota Family Council and other groups held a news conference in front of the Minnesota Department of Education on Thursday to object to a "transgender toolkit" the department is developing.
The toolkit cites a 2016 federal letter on transgender issues saying students must be able to use restrooms and other facilities in accordance with their gender identities.
The draft document also offers best practices on dealing with gender pronouns in student records and accommodating students on field trips and in dress codes.
The Trump administration withdrew the 2016 letter in February. However, Minnesota Deputy Education Commissioner Charlene Briner said no new guidance was issued in its place, so the 2016 document remains one of several sources in the toolkit.
• Trump and transgender rights: What happened?"We're not mandating anything, we're not requiring districts to do anything, we're providing a resource. And that will allow districts to make decisions that best fit their community," Briner said.
Minnesota Family Council communications director Stephani Liesmaki said the toolkit "threatens student privacy, safety and dignity, attempts to erase differences between the sexes, which has a profoundly negative effect on women and girls and drastically undermines parental authority."
Liesmaki said restrooms and changing facilities should be limited based on biological sex, and all students should have access to single-user facilities.
Briner said schools should have multiple options, including facilities aligned with gender identity. "If we're really talking about accepting students and helping them through these issues of gender identity, then we need to make a range of options available," Briner said.
The department's School Safety Technical Assistance Council plans to vote on the document this month.