The rules are still being written in K-12 schools when it comes to fair and non-discriminatory treatment of transgender students. As more students are feeling comfortable expressing their transgender identities and at younger ages, schools are confronted with the task of better accommodating these students -- and often in the face of controversy.
The latest example of this took place at Gloucester High School in Virginia where a 15-year-old student challenged the school’s policy of making transgender students use alternative facilities, instead of the gender-based bathrooms with which they associate. The student, Gavin Grimm, said that being asked to use a different, unisex bathroom than his peers is humiliating and discriminatory.
On his behalf, the ACLU has filed an official complaint with the U.S. Justice and Education departments saying that students should be able to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify. Asking students to use unisex bathrooms singles them out and can cause mental stress during a time when adolescents are their most vulnerable, according to the complaint.
I agree with the ACLU -- essentially segregating transgender students from their peers IS discriminatory and leaves the students open for greater persecution from other students. The argument that the privacy of non-transgender students is infringed upon by allowing these students to use the biologically designated restrooms is flawed. A public bathroom is, after all, a public bathroom and they come complete with stalls that can be used by any students who feel they need extra privacy. Singling out transgender students in such a personal way reeks of bigotry and I hope the ACLU is able to make some progress to protect these students all across the country.
Dr. Matthew Lynch is the author of the newly released textbook, The Call to Teach: An Introduction to Teaching. To order it via Amazon, please click on the following link.
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.