Calif. school district settles discrimination complaint by transgender student

Staff Reports

The U.S. government said Wednesday it had reached an agreement with a Southern California school district to resolve claims the district discriminated against a transgender student.

The complaint filed in October 2011 against the Arcadia Unified School District in Arcadia, Calif., alleged the student, whose gender identity is male, wasn’t able to use boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms at a middle school.

The student also was prevented from staying with other boys during a school-sponsored field trip.

Under the agreement, approved Tuesday evening by the district’s school board, the school district will take a number of steps to ensure that the student, who has consistently and uniformly presented as a boy at school and in all other aspects of his life for several years, will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district.

The agreement, joined by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which participated in the investigation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both Title IX and Title IV prohibit discrimination against students based on sex.

Under the settlement agreement, the district will:

  • Work with a consultant to support and assist the district in creating a safe, non-discriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes;
  • Amend its policies and procedures to reflect that gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is a form of discrimination based on sex; and
  • Train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students.

“All students, including transgender students, have the right to attend school free from discrimination based on their sex,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the district for taking affirmative steps to ensure that this student and his peers can continue to learn and thrive in a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.”

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