New York School Urged to Adopt Gender Neutral Bathroom Policies for Students

New York School Urged to Adopt Gender Neutral Bathroom Policies for Students

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6859753101_20c04253d6_gender-neutralLambda Legal sent a letter Monday to the Le Roy Central School District urging the school board to adopt inclusive bathroom policies that are consistent with the District’s current practice of respecting the gender identity of its students and in line with federal and state law. The letter was sent in response to a letter sent by  an anti-LGBT legal group urging the District to adopt policies that discriminate against transgender students.

“Commendably, the Le Roy Central School District is already doing right by its students and creating a safe and affirming environment for all. However, the anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom decided it could not let this positive and inclusive practice stand, choosing instead to peddle misinformation, promote discrimination and stir up controversy where there is none,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal. “Across the country, schools and school districts have adopted respectful nondiscriminatory policies for their transgender students, and instead of turmoil, administrators, teachers, and coaches have witnessed thriving and active and engaged students. The Le Roy Central School District currently protects the privacy concerns of all students and we urge it to continue to respect the gender identity of each student and adopt inclusive, nondiscriminatory policies. Anything else would be unlawful.”

On hearing that Le Roy Central School District had correctly allowed a transgender boy to use the boys’ locker room, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent a letter to the school disparaging the respectful treatment of the student and asking the school to adopt an explicitly discriminatory policy. Since 2014, ADF has waged similar transphobic campaigns in several school districts across the country. In Ohio, Missouri, and more recently, in Illinois and Pennsylvania, the group has attempted to impose its discriminatory views and “model policy” onto communities determined to respect all students.  Lambda Legal, alongside the communities in these districts, has stood up against such discriminatory and misguided attempts.

Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Le Roy Central School District Board and the Le Roy Jr-Sr High School Principal Timothy McArdle to make clear the school district’s legal responsibility, according to Title IX and New York’s Dignity for All Students Act, to respect the gender identity of all its students and to not discriminate against students on the basis of gender identity.

An excerpt from the letter:

“The School District has a legal responsibility to respect the gender identity of all its students and to not discriminate against students on the basis of gender identity or expression. Transgender and gender-nonconforming students seek nothing more than to be treated like all other students – with dignity and respect. We hope that the School District continues to respect the gender identity of all students and act in compliance with its obligations under federal and state law, as well as the Constitution.”

Read the full letter.

Read: To Know Your Rights about Bathrooms and Locker Rooms.

Photo by Jeffrey Beall

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