U.S. gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is telling public schools that they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

The directive is in formal guidance being sent to school districts Friday by the departments of Education and Justice.

The letter does not impose any new legal requirements, but federal officials say the guidance is meant to clarify school districts' obligations to provide students with nondiscriminatory environments.

It comes amid a legal fight between the Justice Department and North Carolina over that state's law on bathroom use by transgender people. The state and the federal government sued each other on Monday.