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Support for Delaware’s Trans Students

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Joanna Cifredo
Media Relations Manager
joanna.cifredo@glsen.org 
646-388-6575

 

GLSEN Announces Support for Delaware’s Proposed New Regulation to Protect Transgender Students; Calls for Community Comments

New York, NY (November 22, 2017) - The Delaware Department of Education is requesting community comments on an amendment that would protect transgender students. The proposal seeks to amend Regulation 225 by adding “gender identity and expression” in its list of protected characteristics within school anti-discrimination policies.

“The proposed amendment to Regulation 225 is an enormously important, common-sense step to support schools in doing their best by all of their students,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director. “It would provide greater clarity for schools and greater security for the transgender students of Delaware.”

The amendment provides specific guidance for school districts on creating a school environment that is free of discrimination. The guidance is an essential tool for helping school leaders understand their obligations for providing a safe learning environment free from harassment and discrimination to their students, regardless of gender identity or expression, and ensuring a healthy school climate.

Former GLSEN National Student Council leader, Queen Cornish (16, She/Her/Hers, Wilmington, DE), said “Students should be treated with respect and fairness regardless of their gender identity or expression in the educational environment. This regulation will bring forth competence among faculty in Delaware when they address transgender students, which will help students feel more comfortable with themselves.”

For the first time, this guidance would include protections for transgender students and underscores best practices that have seamlessly been introduced in a number of districts throughout the country. While some have brought up concerns related to bathrooms and changing facilities, Byard is quick to point out that similar policies have already been successfully implemented throughout the nation.

“In state after state with good protections for transgender students, the worries have proven to be unfounded. Schools can and do support transgender youth with no problems for their peers and classmates, and with much better outcomes for the trans students themselves,” continued Byard.
The draft regulation does not mandate shared bathrooms or locker rooms. Instead, it requires that schools “work with students and families on providing access to locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond to students’ gender identity and expression.”

GLSEN has created model policies for schools, districts, and states that comply with Title IX while also ensuring transgender and gender nonconforming students are safe and respected while at school. Being young and is already difficult without the added challenges of being transgender. The latest edition of GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey found transgender students were more likely to avoid gender-segregated spaces at schools, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, because of feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.
We call upon the Delaware State Education Association to approve the amendment and support transgender youth. GLSEN stands ready to work with Delaware schools, transgender students, their families, and the broader school community, to ensure that both the needs of transgender students and the privacy of all students are respected.

“Schools have the opportunity to support, help, and provide resources that are essential for a transgender student being able to thrive if they do not have that support at home,” said GLSEN National Student Council leader, Mari Contreras (16, Ze/Zie/Zirs, Wilmington, DE). “When a student comes out in their educational environment, it might be a sign of uncomfortable feelings to coming out at home. This regulation will help create school environments where a student does not have to worry about
repercussions of their safety being jeopardized at home, and being able to be their authentic selves at school.”

The comment period for the proposed regulation is open until the 29th of November. Delawareans who are interested in submitting comments can do so by sending an email to the Delaware Department of Education. Sample email provided by our partners at Equality Delaware.

SAMPLE EMAIL COMMENT

To: DOEregulations.comment@doe.k12.de.us
CC: [ADD YOUR STATE AND LOCAL POLITICIANS AND SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS]
Subject: Proposed Regulation 225 Prohibition of Discrimination

Dear Secretary Bunting,

Thank you for your leadership in developing a regulation and model policy to prevent discrimination in Delaware schools. This is a great step forward for our State. It is important for our schools to be places where all students feel safe and accepted for who they are. I think the proposed regulation could be strengthened to further protect students from discrimination, and I support the immediate adoption of the proposed regulation.

All students should feel safe in school, and no student should face discrimination. In particular, LGBTQ students, especially transgender students, need this guidance so that all schools understand that LGBTQ students should be treated in a non-discriminatory manner, and with dignity and respect.

Thank you for your dedication to strengthening anti-discrimination protections in our schools.

Respectfully,

[YOUR NAME, CITY/TOWN]

Comments can also be submitted by mail to:
Delaware Department of Education
RE: 225 Prohibition of Discrimination
401 Federal Street, Suite 2
Dover, Delaware 19901

About GLSEN

GLSEN champions safe and affirming schools for all students. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach tens of thousands of K-12 schools across the United States, largely through our network of chapters working in their local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact has won support for our work at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research and educator training programs, please visit glsen.org.