Updated Legal Guidance: Protecting Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Against Discrimination
In July 2016, CSBA published a legal guidance to update boards on the protections for transgender students after the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice jointly issued a “Dear Colleague” letter on May 13, 2016, advising that a student’s gender identity be treated as the student’s sex for the purposes of Title IX. On February 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice withdrew and rescinded the May 13, 2016 “Dear Colleague” letter. The Departments wrote that the interpretation of Title IX under the 2016 “Dear Colleague” letter did not “contain significant legal analysis” and “has given rise to significant litigation regarding school restrooms and locker rooms.” Shifting from asserting a determinative federal policy in Title IX, the Trump administration is instead leaving it to the states and local school boards to establish policy involving access to facilities by transgender and gender nonconforming students.
CSBA’s updated guidance informs school boards that the Departments’ withdrawal of the 2016 “Dear Colleague” letter does not roll back protections for California students, as state laws protecting transgender and gender nonconforming students against discrimination remain in place. CSBA’s updated legal guidance is available here.