As summer 2016 nears its end, parents and administrators have something extra to think about on their back-to-school checklists.
Like most debates over new school policy, the president's order regarding transgender restrooms in our schools is also highly charged.
In May, President Obama issued a directive to all public schools in the nation, requiring administrators allow transgender students to use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.
But will your district comply? Here’s a look at what to expect.
The eight-page letter cites Title IX as the basis for the order, outlawing sex discrimination. It sates, "this prohibition encompasses discrimination based on a student's gender identity, including discrimination based on a student's transgender status."
"It's about time," said Meghan Buell, Board President, Trees, Inc., South Bend.
Meghan Buell is the board president of Trees, Inc., which provides transgender resources, education and enrichment services. She is also a substitute teacher with the South Bend Community School Corporation.
"The kids just want to be themselves, they just want to have a safe place, a safe school to go to, and for the transgender students, going to the bathroom has always been a harrowing experience," said Buell.
One that's split the nation into two camps.Two dozen states and counting are suing to block the policy. In the attached image, those states are highlighted in yellow. As you can see, Michigan is one of them, but Indiana is not.
"I don't think the school corporations are prepared for this," said Patrick Mangan, President, Citizens for Community Values of Indiana.
Opposition groups fear people will take advantage of the directive. Patrick Mangan, president of Citizens for Community Values of Indiana says it's an open door for trouble.
"This is what's playing into the hands of sex offenders. I urge all of the school systems to say no to this policy, and to fight it," said Mangan.
Dr. Erin Leonard, a psychotherapist in Mishawaka, works with transgender adolescents.
"Most human beings have had the experience of at some point in their life of not being treated or feeling like they're respected for who they really are, and when a human being has that experience, it's difficult, it's painful," said Dr. Erin Leonard, child and adolescent psychotherapist, Mishawaka.
So will your school district obey the Commander-in-chief?
South Bend has a Human Rights Ordinance, passed in 2012.
"That includes gender identity and sexual orientation. And that's in areas of housing, education, employment and public accommodations, so includes bathrooms," said Eli Williams, Executive Director, The LGBTQ Center, South Bend. "In South Bend we're in good shape as long as people are following that human rights ordinance."
Additionally, in January 2016, South Bend Community School Corporation provided training to its principals specific to transgender issues. This training included suggested best practices for addressing transgender matters in a supportive and non-discriminatory manner.
Shawn Hannon, Assistant Superintendent of Communication and Data provided the following statement on behalf of Elkhart Community Schools:
"Elkhart Community Schools is prepared to respond to student requests for accommodations consistent with the guidance set forth in the May 13, 2016, 'Dear Colleague' letter. Requests for accommodations from students and their families have been and will be addressed on a case by case basis. The district balances the rights of the students requesting accommodations with the privacy rights of all students."
"Most of us, if not all of us, have used the bathroom with a transgender person at some point in our lifetime and we haven't noticed because it's not a big deal," said Williams.
Superintendent of School City of Mishawaka, Dr. Dean Speicher provided NewsCenter 16 with the following statement:
"We realize the need to create safe settings both physically and emotionally. SCM wants students and staff to be recognized and acknowledged. The school corporation has provided a gender neutral restroom at MHS and is working to create single use restrooms for the availability of all students. The school administration and staff will share with students the importance of understanding diversity in regards of race, gender, and personal life styles."
But Buell, a transgender woman, says single-use restrooms are still not quite the point.
"There's an attempt to keep trans people safe by having them use a separate bathroom, but that’s making the situation worse because that’s just a bigger target for bullying and harassment," said Buell.
Mangan is standing firm on his belief.
"If the public schools do this I think a lot more parents will start to pull their children out of the public schools," said Mangan.
Dr. Dan Applegate, superintendent of Niles Community Schools says they are continuing to review the recommendations. He provided the following statement:
"Niles Community Schools is and will remain committed to providing a high quality education to all students in a warm and engaging environment that welcomes and celebrates diversity. We value diversity and have been able to accommodate the needs of a variety of students and we will continue to do that without disrupting the learning environment or our children."
"We're going to be amazed at the number of high school boys who suddenly feel like they want to be in touch with their feminine side if they can get in the girls locker room. This is total nonsense. It's total, complete, absolute nonsense public policy," said Mangan.
"This fear being spread about bathrooms, have actually caused some trans people to go back into hiding, or worse, commit suicide. It's having a negative effect and it's costing lives. And we need to stop it," said Buell.
It's an issue that could be taken all the way to the Supreme Court before a solution is determined.
Both Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation and Benton Harbor Area Schools did not return our request for comment.
Tune into NewsCenter 16 Thursday evening 'Just Before 6' where we'll take a closer look at possible solutions.