Local districts respond to federal removal of transgender student protections

By Christina Cox

Last update: Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

On Wednesday, the Trump administration withdrew federal protections that allowed transgender students at public schools to use the bathrooms and facilities matching their chosen gender identities.

California law, however, still makes allowances for students.

The guidelines were adopted by the Obama administration in May 2016 after the administration determined that Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, applied to transgender students’ rights.

Now, it will be up to states and school districts to interpret whether Title IX applies to gender identity and expression and to protect students from bullying or discrimination, according to the Associated Press (AP).

“This is an issue best solved at the state and local level,” said United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement.  “Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students.”

DeVos said that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will continue to protect students and investigate “all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”

In California, state law (AB 1226) rules that students, in kindergarten to 12th grade, cannot be discriminated against based on their gender or expression and that all students have the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their self-perception.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said that, at California’s public schools, the state law will remain in place.

“All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment,” he said in a statement Wednesday.  “California students will continue to have their civil rights protected.”

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the sentiment appears to be the same at the area’s five public school districts.

“We follow state law and state law says we follow the transgender laws,” said Dave Caldwell, public information officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District.  “Whatever the state superintendent says, that’s what we do.  Whatever the state law is, that’s what we do.”

Christy Smith, president of the Newhall School District Governing Board, said the district does not have any plans to revisit its transgender student policy in light of the federal ruling.

“We revisited our board policy on that within the last couple of years and we don’t plan on revisiting it again,” she said.

Charmin Ortega, assistant to the superintendent in the Castaic Union School District, said she has not heard any word from board members on revisiting CUSD’s district policies about transgender students.

“I have not heard any discussions at this time, but the board might address that in the future,” she said.

Saugus Union School District Superintendent Joan Lucid said the district will follow the lead of the state superintendent’s office.

“Every child is entitled to a safe and secure environment and we follow the California law,” Lucid said.  “We  work with all our parents and students to ensure a high quality school experience where every child is valued and can reach their full potential.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Local districts respond to federal removal of transgender student protections

On Wednesday, the Trump administration withdrew federal protections that allowed transgender students at public schools to use the bathrooms and facilities matching their chosen gender identities.

California law, however, still makes allowances for students.

The guidelines were adopted by the Obama administration in May 2016 after the administration determined that Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, applied to transgender students’ rights.

Now, it will be up to states and school districts to interpret whether Title IX applies to gender identity and expression and to protect students from bullying or discrimination, according to the Associated Press (AP).

“This is an issue best solved at the state and local level,” said United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement.  “Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students.”

DeVos said that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will continue to protect students and investigate “all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment against those who are most vulnerable in our schools.”

In California, state law (AB 1226) rules that students, in kindergarten to 12th grade, cannot be discriminated against based on their gender or expression and that all students have the right “to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities” based on their self-perception.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said that, at California’s public schools, the state law will remain in place.

“All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment,” he said in a statement Wednesday.  “California students will continue to have their civil rights protected.”

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the sentiment appears to be the same at the area’s five public school districts.

“We follow state law and state law says we follow the transgender laws,” said Dave Caldwell, public information officer for the William S. Hart Union High School District.  “Whatever the state superintendent says, that’s what we do.  Whatever the state law is, that’s what we do.”

Christy Smith, president of the Newhall School District Governing Board, said the district does not have any plans to revisit its transgender student policy in light of the federal ruling.

“We revisited our board policy on that within the last couple of years and we don’t plan on revisiting it again,” she said.

Charmin Ortega, assistant to the superintendent in the Castaic Union School District, said she has not heard any word from board members on revisiting CUSD’s district policies about transgender students.

“I have not heard any discussions at this time, but the board might address that in the future,” she said.

Saugus Union School District Superintendent Joan Lucid said the district will follow the lead of the state superintendent’s office.

“Every child is entitled to a safe and secure environment and we follow the California law,” Lucid said.  “We  work with all our parents and students to ensure a high quality school experience where every child is valued and can reach their full potential.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

About the author

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.

  • billkealey

    Man I really don’t care what anyone else even thinks about what I’m going to say…..either draw a pic of genitalia or write publicly accepted wording on each sign ie innie and outtie. If you have an outtie then you go in the outtie bathroom, innie you go in the innie bathroom. That’s it! What on God’s green earth are people thinking? It’s not that tough to figure out folks. It doesn’t matter what is going on between their ears, it’s what going on between their legs that dictates which restroom to use. Whoever even started this to be an issue or even worse people buying into it being an issue have got to get a life. This is crazy. Come on people. We can’t keep building different bathrooms either because if you do some other type person will come along and demand their own as well or they will sue. Just a huge old can of worms that really are just wasting people’s time and money. Two bathrooms. Innie & outtie. So let the negative replies fly folks! This should be interesting.

    • Roger Foster

      Agreed. It’s the plumbing of the user, not the facility.

      • billkealey

        Thanks Roger, finally someone with some common sense.

    • Kathy Gleasman Pisaro

      Really? What goes on between my legs is absolutely no business of yours. You don’t get to look in my pants to decide what bathroom I use. You are so right. This is crazy. That is totally gross. Bathrooms for whoever needs to go to the bathroom. So women who happen to be born with a tiny penis (happens more often than you think) are going to the men’s bathroom for the rest of their lives? It isn’t tough to figure out at all – if a woman says she is a woman, then she is one. If a man says he is a man, then he is one. Not your decision. All we need to do is to provide a place for people to go to the bathroom who need to go to the bathroom. I really hope you don’t live in Santa Clarita, because I don’t want you deciding what bathroom you think I should use by ogling me to decide if I am ladylike or masculine enough to use whatever bathroom you get to decide I use. Ick! So, yes, this is one of those negative replies. Stay out of the space between my legs.

    • Ron Bischof
  • Brian Roberts

    It’s whats between the ears, not legs which makes the difference.
    DNA is complex and sometimes a variation is made.

    Shall we have them put to death?

    • Ron Bischof

      Straw man.

      No one is proposing executions. Why add such a superfluous and inflammatory comment?

      • Brian Roberts

        Maybe not executions but an increase in teen suicides will be connected to all the negative legislation.

        Grow up. Not everyone is alike!

        • Ron Bischof

          Again, a straw man, Mr. Roberts. I note you’ve now withdrawn your absurd assertion and now propose another.

          What “negative legislation”? That’s a non sequitur.

          No one is asserting that everyone is alike. Additionally, questioning the maturity of those who critiqued the quality of your comment is risible.

          Perhaps your should heed your own advice.

    • Brian Baker

      I agree with Ron. That was an absurd comment.

    • billkealey

      Oh brother! A little dramatic don’t ya think?

  • Brian Baker

    If I’m ever in a position to afford to relocate my family as well as myself, this is exactly the kind of state decision that will see me show this place my backside.

    I moved here in 1970, and California was absolutely paradise. In the intervening 47 years the Dem/socialists have taken over and turned it into a sewer.

Christina Cox

Christina Cox

Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.