RSS responds to Department of Justice’s letter to school systems

Published 2:23 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education this morning released a letter to school systems regarding Title IX requirements for transgender students.

The departments state that the letter constitutes “significant guidance.”

“This guidance does not add requirements to applicable law, but provides information and examples to inform recipients about how the departments evaluate whether covered entities are complying with their legal obligations,” it read.

The letter clarifies that transgender students are included under Title IX non-discrimination regulations, which explicitly refer to sex discrimination.

“The departments treat a students’ gender identity as the students’ sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations,” the letter said.

According to the letter, when a student — or a parent or guardian — notifies the system of a change in gender identity, the school system must comply. The student is to be allowed to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their gender identity, included in single-sex classes that match their identity, and be referred to with the name and pronouns specified.

“A school may not require transgender students to use facilities inconsistent with their gender identity or to use individual-user facilities when other students who are not required to do so,” the letter said.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System responded with an e-mailed release early Friday afternoon.

“We must provide all our students with a welcoming, supportive school environment.  We will work with our transgender students in compliance with state law and in a way that considers the privacy of all our students,” Rowan-Salisbury Schools Public Information Officer Rita Foil said in the release.