Local School Districts Respond to New Federal Guidelines for Transgender Students

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As of today, federal guidelines mandate that public school districts permit transgender students to use the restroom facilities that the students feel best fit their gender identity.

A letter, carrying the seals of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, was sent to school districts today. It states: “The Departments treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.”

” . . . the administration is making it very clear to school districts that if they discriminate against transgender students, they could be in violation of Title IX,” an article posted on npr.org stated. And those violations could mean a loss of federal funding.

70 West Sentinel spoke to Fort Zumwalt School District superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray. DuBray confirmed that the district does have a “handful” of transgender students and that the students’ parents generally contact the schools to make them aware of that.

“You cannot discriminate–period,” DuBray said. “It’s not been an issue [for Fort Zumwalt schools]. Transgender students use the existing facilities, and we have not had anyone request different facilities. We’ll deal with each individual case as it arises.”

The district released this statement: “On Friday, May 13, the Fort Zumwalt School District superintendent, along with school officials across the nation, received information from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education regarding civil rights protections for transgender students. The purpose of the information is to clearly inform school districts concerning the requirements of the current federal law and regulations regarding the federal protections for transgender students in public schools.

“It will be the goal of the Fort Zumwalt School District to comply with the law while, at the same time, providing for the safety and privacy of all students. This issue is not new to public school districts and, in every case, schools work with parents and students to address their specific needs. In the coming weeks the district will review this information with legal counsel to ensure its practices are in compliance with the law. Any updates will be available online at fz.k12.mo.us.”

The Wentzville School District also released a statement: “In the WSD, we will continue our charge to provide a positive learning environment for all students.  We have always worked with families and students to meet their individual needs and provide a safe and welcoming learning environment every day and we will continue to do that.

“We support civil discussion of matters that affect our students, but our primary focus is to educate students in a safe and respectful environment.

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