The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released joint guidance last Friday to all districts in the country “to help provide educators the information they need to ensure that all students, including transgender students, can attend school in an environment free from discrimination based on sex,” according to a statement released by the DOJ.
The statement cites Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and that schools receiving federal funding “may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.”
It continues, “The guidance explains that when students or their parents, as appropriate, notify a school that a student is transgender, the school must treat the student consistent with the student’s gender identity. A school may not require transgender students to have amedical diagnosis, undergo any medical treatment, or produce a birth certificate or other identification document before treating them consistent with their gender identity.”
The guidance also explains schools’ obligations to, among other things, “allow students to participate in sex-segregated activities and access sex segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity.”
The guidance also indicates “that schools can provide additional privacy options to any student for any reason,” the statement said. “The guidance does not require any student to use shared bathrooms or changing spaces, when, for example, there are other appropriate options available; and schools can also take steps to increase privacy within shared facilities.”
The guidance has added fuel to an already heated discussion throughout the country regarding transgender rights and public privacy and safety.
The Lincoln County School District sent the following statement to the Record in response to the new guidelines.
“The Lincoln County School District’s policy expresses a commitment to providing all students and employees with a safe and respectful learning environment in which all persons can realize their full academic and personal potential. The District is consistent in its policies to expect all stake holders involved in our student’s education to be free from bullying, harassment, or intimidation.
“With those general guidelines, we realize there are differing views regarding the recent Obama administration issued guidance Friday, May 13 directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. Currently our policy does not specifically address transgender persons and the choice of restrooms. However we expect all students to continue to achieve and operate in a safe and respectful environment given the conversation of gender identity.
“At this time the Lincoln County School District will wait for direction from the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) State Superintendent Dr. Steve Canavero, Governor Brian Sandoval, and the NV State Attorney General’s Office regarding specific Title IV Nondiscrimination policy requirements.
“In the interim, District officials will review the current federal and state guidance to determine clarifications and resolutions. We will engage with community members to address the issue. We will review any immediate family concerns on an individual basis and we will engage all stake holders with respect and diplomacy as we seek solutions.”