Superintendent Issues Statement on Federal Guidance Regarding Transgender Students

(Wyoming) Today the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued a letter to all Federally-funded schools that included language designed to protect transgender students. In part the letter summarizes Title IX and states that discrimination against a student's gender also includes gender identity. "In recent years, we have received an increasing number of questions from parents, teachers, principals, and school superintendents about civil rights protections for transgender students," the memo read. "This guidance does not add requirements to applicable law, but provides information and examples to inform recipients about how the Departments evaluate whether covered entities are complying with their legal obligations." In a press statement, Wyoming's Superintendent of Schools Jillian Balow responded to the guidance notice. "Guidance on ensuring the civil rights of transgender students was released by the USDOE and USDOJ today which underscores the challenges of adapting to social change in schools. I don't believe it is appropriate for federal bureaucrats to tell our education professionals how to handle these sensitive situations. "Educators are entrusted with the safety of all children, physical and emotional, in the school setting. Many Wyoming schools have already adapted to the transgender community by providing accommodations, such as a separate bathroom, for transgender students. I expect that Wyoming education leaders will continue to carefully make decisions in the interest of all students and consider policy decisions with input from the local school board, students, and the public. "While I appreciate the attention paid to transgender students in the federal guidance, it's critical that we recognize, and reasonably accommodate, the uniqueness of all students." In regards to bathrooms specifically, the guidance issued today is fairly clear: "A school may provide separate facilities on the basis of sex, but must allow transgender students access to such facilities consistent with their gender identity.A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students are not required to do so. A school may, however, make individual-user options available to all students who voluntarily seek additional privacy." In other words, "providing separate accommodations," as Superintendent Balow states above, would be okay if the student requested it. You can read the full guidance letter here . #county17 #news #dally