A spokesperson for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says Oklahoma public schools must allow students to use the bathroom of their choice, based on the student’s self-professed gender identity, and cannot restrict bathroom access based on biological gender.
Carrie Burkhart, executive director of communications for the Oklahoma State Department of Education, said the agency recently affirmed to Stillwater Public Schools that “legal precedent has addressed the need for equal access, including facilities.”
She cited a decision handed down in 2020 by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that held that a school district could not prohibit transgender persons from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity and noted the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of that case.
The statement was issued following conflicting reports in the Stillwater school district regarding Hofmeister and the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s interpretation of laws governing student access to sex-segregated facilities, including bathrooms.
Hofmeister is currently a candidate for governor, running as a Democrat after having switched parties.