Gloucester County School Board passes ‘discriminatory’ bathroom rule
Tonight, a rural Virginia school board passed a rule which critics say will harm transgender youth.
“With this vote, the school board has failed to ensure that all students in Gloucester County Public Schools have equal access to public accommodations, including restrooms, locker rooms, or changing facilities, upon the basis of their gender identity,” said Equality Virginia’s Executive Director James Parish in a statement released after tonight’s vote.
Parish said the new proposed rule, which would required children to use facilities like restrooms, locker rooms according to ” biological genders” was “discriminatory” and it was ”unfortunate that [the school board] failed to take seriously the impact that this policy can have on transgender students as well as the whole student body.”
The Virginia ACLU sent a letter earlier this month informing the rule would violate Title XI which deals with schools discriminating on sex, a fact backed up by a recent Department Of Justice memo.
How do the Title IX requirements on single-sex classes apply to transgender students?
Answer: All students, including transgender students and students who do not conform to sex stereotypes, are protected from sex-based discrimination under Title IX. Under Title IX, a recipient generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity in all aspects of the planning, implementation, enrollment, operation, and evaluation of single-sex classes.
Last month, the story of transmale student at Gloucester High School erupted after the school board began looking to restrict his restroom use. The school had been allowing him to use facilities according to the gender he identified with.
“Gloucester High School is doing the right thing by treating Gavin like any other boy at the school. The school board should not step in to undermine the supportive and welcoming environment that administrators, teachers, and students have created,” said ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg in a press release sent out prior to tonight’s vote.
Violence against transgender teens over bathroom use has a history in the US. In March of this year, a trans-boy was physically and sexually assaulted after leaving a male bathroom in a Northern CA high school.
Parish said the confusion faced by transgender students is a state-wide problem. He said the “patchwork of different policies across Virginia leaves many transgender students without protections that may be offered in another district or school.”
Top Image via Gloucester School Board website, The 2014 School Board Members are, from left, Anita Parker, Petsworth district; Carla Hook, York; Kevin Smith, at-large; Randy Burak, Abingdon;
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