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Blue for Boys, White With Flowers for Girls: When Commencement Is an Exercise in Discrimination
May 9th, 2016 by

Libby Ryan and Jordan D’Addeo are unlikely rabble-rousers. Both are A students and highly involved in their school and community. Libby is a four-time All-State musician and principal oboist in Connecticut’s All-State Band, winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution Citizenship Award, Class of 2016 Treasurer, a member of the National Honor Society, and a member of the student council who has donated over 400 hours of community service with various organizations in the area. Jordan is the class salutatorian with near-perfect SAT scores, winner of the Rensselaer Medal, National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar with Honor, and captain of the high school Quiz Bowl and math teams. They both love their school, their teachers, their friends, and their school administrators. And they are weeks away from graduating from Nathan Hale-Ray High School in East Haddam, Connecticut.

But as they prepare to celebrate with their classmates, they find themselves up against a tradition that distracts from the achievements that graduation is meant to recognize. By tradition, boys wear blue gowns at graduation; girls wear white. Also by tradition, boys and girls will file into the ceremony venue in separate lines, girls carrying flowers purchased out of class dues. This policy discriminates not only against transgender students and students with nonconforming gender identities, forced to publicly choose a gender, but also against female students who are literally draped in a symbol of female purity laden with gender stereotypes.

Graduation Gowns, Gender, and Controversy

Since early March, some students at Nathan Hale-Ray High School have been asking that the gender distinction be dropped at graduation and that students all wear graduation robes of the same color. To date, school administrators have not agreed to the change, and time seems to be running out. Last Tuesday, students were told they could choose a different color than the one that corresponded to their biological sex as long as they had the permission of their parents. The parental-permission requirement was dropped the next day, but the gender-specific robe color was not.

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Settlement Reached with Palatine, Ill., Township High School District 211 to Remedy Transgender Discrimination
Dec 4th, 2015 by

Settlement Reached with Palatine, Ill., Township High School District 211 to Remedy Transgender Discrimination

SOURCE- http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/settlement-reached-palatine-ill-township-high-school-district-211-remedy-transgender-discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Township High School District 211 based in Palatine, Illinois, after finding the district in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for discriminating against a transgender high school student by denying her access to the girls’ locker rooms.

The case marked the first time that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights had found a school district in violation of civil rights laws over transgender issues.

“I commend the Board of Education of Township High School District 211 for taking steps necessary to protect civil rights as well as student privacy,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “We are grateful that the board and superintendent chose to come into full compliance with our nation’s civil rights laws. And, we look forward to partnering with the district to assure that the terms of this agreement are fully and effectively implemented.”

The events leading up to today’s announcement began in earnest on Nov. 2 when OCR issued a letter of findings to the district. The letter notified the district that it was in violation of Title IX, which protects all students, including transgender students, from sex discrimination in K-12 districts that receive federal funding.

OCR concluded that the district violated Title IX because, for more than two school years, the district had denied a transgender student access to the girls’ locker rooms at her high school, and offered her only separate facilities to change clothes for her athletics activities and mandatory physical education classes in order to satisfy the graduation requirements and receive a high school diploma.

The office noted that the district had previously designated the student as female in its computer system. And, that it had given the student unlimited access to all girls’ restrooms in the school and allowed her to participate in girls’ athletics.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, the District 211 school board approved a settlement to address the issues raised in OCR’s letter of findings and begin the process to bring the district in compliance with civil rights laws.

Under the agreement, the district agreed to take the following specific actions:

  • Provide the student with access to the girls’ locker rooms at her high school based on the student’s request to change in private changing stations in the girls’ locker rooms.
  • Protect the privacy of its students by installing sufficient privacy curtains within the girls’ locker rooms at the high school to accommodate the transgender student and any students who wish to be assured of privacy.
  • Provide a reasonable alternative for any student requesting additional privacy—beyond the privacy afforded by the privacy curtains—in the girls’ locker rooms. Examples could include use of another private area or assignment of a locker in near proximity to the office of a teacher or coach.
  • Coordinate with hosts of off-campus, district-sponsored activities to arrange for the transgender student to be provided access to facilities for female students.
  • Engage a consultant (who may be a district employee) with expertise in child and adolescent gender identity, including transgender and gender nonconforming youth, to support and assist the district in implementing the resolution agreement.
  • Establish a support team, if requested by the transgender student and her parents, to ensure that she has access and the opportunity to participate in all district programs and activities, and is otherwise protected from gender-based discrimination at school.
  • Adopt and publish a revised notice of nondiscrimination on the basis of sex. And,
  • Provide OCR with a copy or detailed description of all gender-based discrimination or harassment complaints or incidents.

A copy of the Nov. 2 letter of findings can be found here, and the agreement is posted here.

OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001.

For details on how OCR handles civil rights cases, please click here.

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U.S. Department of Justice Affirms Title IX Protection for Transgender Students
Jul 1st, 2015 by

Today, the Department of Justice affirmed that Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use the restroom that matches their gender identity. Earlier this month, G.G., a transgender boy in Virginia sued his school district for denying him access to the boys’ restroom and is seeking a court order requiring the school to allow him to use the boys’ restroom before the new school year begins.

The U. S. Department of Justice filed a brief urging the court to grant that relief because denying him access to the restroom violates the school district’s obligations under Title IX. The brief expresses the federal government’s long-held view that Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students, a position it has previously taken in Title IX guidance documents and enforcement actions.

 

read more ……….

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DOJ: Gloucester transgender student’s lawsuit has merit under Title IX
Jul 1st, 2015 by

The lawsuit filed by a 16-year-old transgender student over Gloucester County’s school restroom policy has merit under federal law, according to court documents filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday.

The department filed what is called a “statement of interest” in federal court regarding the lawsuit filed earlier this month on behalf of Gavin Grimm by the American Civil Liberties Union. The document filed this week claims the district’s policy violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 because it discriminates on the basis of sex, which the department states includes gender identity and transgender status.

Grimm’s lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the School Board to let Grimm, who was born a biological female but identifies as a transgender boy, use the boys restroom.

The suit is charging the division with sex discrimination because of a restroom use policy that was approved by the School Board last December.

The policy restricts students to either single-stall restrooms or the restrooms designated for their biological gender.

The court document filed this week by the U.S. Department of Justice states “there is a strong public interest in requiring the District to treat [Grimm], a transgender male student, like all other male students, including allowing him to use the male restrooms at Gloucester High School.”

It also states that even though Grimm “was assigned the female sex at birth … his gender identity is male and he presents as a boy in all aspects of his life.”

read more…..

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CEA’s Gender Equity & Expression Workshop!
May 8th, 2015 by

Gender Equity May 2015

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