OCR Settles With School District Transgender Discrimination
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced earlier that it has reached into a voluntary resolution agreement with Dorchester County School District Two in South Carolina, after finding that the school authorities in the district incurred violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by discriminating against a transgender elementary school student.
The said violation began in an incident, which was referred to the OCR in a complaint dated August 31, 2015, when a transgender elementary school student was denied access and use of the female restroom and was instead directed to use a private restroom found in the school’s nurse’s station.
Section 1681, Paragraph (a) of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 reads,
Section 1681. Sex
(a) Prohibition against discrimination; exceptions. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
(1) Classes of educational institutions subject to prohibition: In regard to admissions to educational institutions, this section shall apply only to institutions of vocational education, professional education, and graduate higher education, and to public institutions of undergraduate higher education.
Title IX of the said Education Amendments of 1972 aims to protect all students from sex-based discrimination.
Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights stated that she commends the actions of the Dorchester County School District Two for it protects the civil rights of all of its students and as the same time provides them equal access to educational programs and activities.
The OCR concluded that the act of not giving access to the girls’ bathroom to their transgender student school by the authorities of the said district is a clear violation of Title IX. However, the OCR has determined that other district’s policies and procedures are compliant to Title IX.
The district voluntarily agreed and entered into a resolution agreement and to take the following actions:
That they will provide the student and her parents with the option of requesting, at any point during the student’s enrollment in the district, a support team to be convened to ensure that the student’s access and opportunity to participate in all programs and activities will not denied or limited based on her gender identity, and that the student will otherwise be protected from all gender based discrimination at school;
That the school will also revise its policies and procedures in order to include all gender-based discrimination as a form of discrimination based on sex; and lastly
To provide annual training to district and school level administrators on the district’s obligation to prevent and address gender-based discrimination.