This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he is concerned that a directive from the Obama administration regarding the use of school restrooms by transgender students could exacerbate the bullying of those children.
"I don't understand bullying at all, but we know that bullying goes on," Herbert said during his monthly KUED news conference Thursday. "What I would want not to happen is if, in fact, someone is forced to use a bathroom that's not private and ends up exacerbating the bullying problem [schools] have that they're trying to get away from anyway."
Herbert said that's why local schools and districts are better equipped to deal with the issue and have "a better grasp of what's in the best interest of their students when it comes to privacy, dignity, safety for all the students."
Herbert has been critical of the Department of Justice and Department of Education for sending a memo to states regarding the use of school restrooms by transgendered students and a threat to withhold federal education funding from states that do not comply.
"First, it was wrong for him to weigh in, second, it would be even wronger for him to say we're going to take away the money," Herbert said.
The governor has said previously that he "will not hesitate" to fight the letter from the administration.
"I'm sensitive to the issue and we all ought to be sensitive to the issue that all children and I emphasize all children ought to be treated with respect, there ought to be a sense of dignity, a sense of safety and privacy when it comes to using bathroom facilities, shower facilities," Herbert said. "What we don't need is to have someone from Washington, D.C., mandate to use a one-size-fits-all [approach]. I think sometimes one-size-fits-all works for the few, but not the many."