Target: U.S. Justice and Education Departments
Goal: Applaud the federal government for enabling a transgender teenager to use the boys’ locker room in a California school
The U.S. Justice and Education Departments recently made a landmark decision that a transgender student from Arcadia, California, who has female anatomical body parts but lives as a male, could use school facilities such as the locker rooms and bathrooms designated for boys. This decision will force the Arcadia School District to change its previous policies to accommodate this ninth grade student. Furthermore, teachers and other employees must combat gender discrimination through specific training, and federal agencies promised to oversee that the school district complies at least through 2016. This decision is the first of its kind and should be applauded as a small step forward in the fight for equality for transgendered individuals and the overall advancement of human rights.
In the past, both the Education and Justice departments have demanded that school districts change practices and policies to protect transgendered students from gender discrimination in other places in California as well as other states such as Minnesota. This resolution is the most recent step in a series of measures passed by the Obama administration to convey to schools that the fair treatment of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) students is high on its agenda. The Education Department Office for Civil Rights has corresponded with several districts to remind them that they are required to protect all students against prejudicial treatment based on their sexual orientation, religion, race and gender. Furthermore, all schools must allow for the formation of gay-straight clubs that would retain the same privileges and rights as all other clubs in their school.
The treatment of transgendered individuals has frequently been in the spotlight throughout the country. Many states such as Massachusetts have articulated certain guidelines for the best way to accommodate transgender students. Please sign this petition to commend the U.S. Justice and Education Departments for their promotion of LGBT rights and for the precedent they set for other school districts both in California and nationally.
Dear U.S. Justice and Education Departments,
We commend you for your recent decision to mandate that the Arcadia school district must change its policies and practices to allow a transgendered student to have access to the boys’ restroom, locker room, and other facilities. It is the latest step in a series of actions taken by the Obama administration to ensure the preservation of LGBT rights and to combat discrimination against students on the basis of race, sexual orientation, religion and gender. This decision is the first of its kind and sets a precedent for other schools state-wide and nationally to follow.
Although the Arcadia school district quickly responded to the harassment and bullying of the transgender student by his peers, he remained stigmatized. He could only use the nurse’s bathroom rather than the locker rooms or public bathrooms. On overnight school trips he was forced to sleep in an area isolated from the other students, and his father was required to chaperone. With your recent decision, this transgender student can now focus on high school without the fear of isolation and feeling inferior. We applaud this small step towards the protection of LGBT rights and hope that many more districts form similar agreements with you in the near future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: motokah via Flickr