equal access to education

The new DoE transgender guideline and the resulting confusion

When the Trump Administration's Department of Education and Department of Justice jointly revoked the Obama administration's guideline on the protection and treatment of transgender students in the country's schools, Betsy DeVos said that transgender students would still have civil rights protections and that the DoE would be releasing an update on how that would be implemented.

In lieu of federal protection

At a time when the federal government is bent on reducing, if anything, protections for people considered to be "outside the norm," it is important for states and local institutions to step up to fill the void.

In Connecticut the Board of Regents has adopted two new policies in order to implement an executive order issued by Governor Malloy this past February.

Local voters in Illinois

The Palatine Township High School District 211 board adopted a policy allowing transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender with which they identify. Angry parents said that the board members who supported that policy would have to pay.

Three anti-transgender candidates were fielded to challenge incumbents. The local election was yesterday.

This week in the courts

On Monday Judge Mark R Hornak of the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that three transgender students had a "reasonable likelihood" of success in their argument that the Pine-Richland School District's decision last fall to require them to use bathrooms consistence with the sex on their birth certificates was unconstitutional, and hence granted them a preliminary injunction against that policy.

Something you can do

We are waiting for a decision by SCOTUS on whether it will hear the appeal by Gloucester County School District in the case G.G. v GCSD.

The school division filed a petition on Aug. 29 asking the high court to determine if it is violating federal law by refusing to allow Grimm access to the boys' restrooms. It will be one of the petitions discussed in this week's Friday conference, where the justices decide which cases to accept and which to reject.

Trans boy suspending for using the boys room in South Carolina

It's South Carolina, so don't expect a happy ending.

When the boy, who wishes to remain anonymous, began transitioning when he was in middle school, girls complained that there was a boy in their bathroom. So he was allowed to use the boys room. He did that for three years without incident.

Then the boy moved on to Socastee High School. Again, no problem for three years.

One day a male teacher was leaving the boys restroom while the boy was entering.

No word on what the hell the adult teacher was doing in the boys room.

He must’ve looked at his records and saw the sex on his records because that’s the only way he could’ve known.

--the boy's mother

Instead of the teacher being told by the administration to butt out, the boy was called in to the office and told he must use the girls bathroom or go to the nurse's office.

If he started using the girl’s bathroom in 12th grade, it’s going to create a problem. I felt like that would be dangerous.

DoE to Illinois school district: We're serious

Yesterday federal education authorities found that Township High School District in Palatine, IL violated anti-discrimination laws when it denied a transgender girl who participates on a girl's sports team free access to change and shower in the girl's locker room.

Education officials said the decision was the first of its kind on the rights of transgender students, which are emerging as a new cultural battleground in public schools across the country. In previous cases, federal officials had been able to reach settlements giving access to transgender students in similar situations. But in this instance, the school district in Palatine, Ill., has not yet come to an agreement, prompting the federal government to threaten sanctions. The district, northwest of Chicago, has indicated a willingness to fight for its policy in court.

DoE, DoJ step up for Gavin Grimm in 4th Circuit

 photo Gavin_zpsuoaqpjow.jpgWhen last we encountered Gavin Grimm, Gloucester County Schools were still preventing the trans teen from using the boys room and the district had received the blessing of District Court Judge Robert Doumar in Norfolk.

Gavin's ACLU attorneys have asked an appeals court to replace Doumar, who denied his request for a preliminary injunction, because Doumar has made statements that he is "suspicious of modern medical science regarding gender identity." The lawyers say that Doumar has repeatedly referenced Gavin's "mental disorder" and accused him and them of just seeking publicity.

Yesterday the Department of Educations Office of the General Council and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division filed a 40-page friend-of-the-court brief with the 4th US Circuit Court on behalf of Grimm.