Concerns regarding transgender students in PWCS

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Concerns regarding transgender students in PWCS

Ms. Stacey Parker

Ms. Stacey Parker

Ms. Stacey Parker

Sheila Ventura, J1 Reporter

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According to Inside Nova, on June 21, 2017, The Prince William County school board voted 5-3 to pass a new anti-discrimination measure for LGBTQ students and/or staff; a fight that has been debated since 2016. More than 500 people attended this meeting, 250 to protest and the other 250 to support the cause.

“Seventy-five percent of transgender students have felt unsafe in school due to harassment from other students,” a news article from Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teachers Network states. There are concerns from parents over the protection of transgender students in public schools due to the horrific news stories on young teens committing suicide because of bullying for trying to express themselves.

Many students have to go to their school nurse and use their bathrooms due to this problem. “I think the way society treats people is unfair.” Daniel Cruz, an eleventh grader at Freedom says,  “…especially if they’re a part of the LGBTQ community.”

“Society is very harsh when it comes to gender identification, sexual preference, everything. It’s quite horrific, even though I know it’s not everyone who treats them horribly. But still, they did nothing but be themselves and got judged for it.” says Freedom senior, Wilmer Guzman.

Many people feared how this would apply to some people due to the LGBTQ nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida back in 2016. “I had a transgender student who was transitioning from a girl to a boy. He would come here (nurse’s office) every day to use the bathroom because he was afraid to go to the boy’s restroom because of the constant harassment. I felt bad for him. It’s quite heartbreaking how this can affect many people, not to mention the transgender military ban.” Freedom nurse, Katie Karamanis says.

There have been stories worldwide on how trans students get bullied and end up depressed, insecure and have lost who they are as a person. “Anyone should be allowed to use whatever bathroom they like and not feel ashamed, but then again, I cannot relate to them and do not know what it is like to live in their situation. It’s easier said than done.” says junior, Aja’Na Vaughn.

“I feel like counselors should check on the students or staff to make sure they’re always okay, but not to the point where they feel over-crowded. Just to make sure they are fine.” Guzman says. Students and staff have struggled enough between being judged by family members to being harassed at a place where they thought they would be comfortable, and hoping they would have the support they lacked from their families.

In May 2016, The Departments of Justice and Education state that discrimination against transgender students because of their gender identity violates Title IX and how all schools receiving federal funding must treat gender identity as a protected category-just as they must do with sex and race.

Title IX of the Education Amendments was signed by President Nixon in June of 1972 to become a law. The main purpose of Title IX is to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that is federally funded.

Back in May 2018, there was a court case where a federal judge ruled in favor of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student in Virginia who sued the school board for prohibiting him from using the boys’ restrooms. Gavin asserted that the school board’s insistence on his using bathrooms corresponding to his biological sex constituted sex discrimination and a violation against his rights.

There were two more court cases in July 2018, where the federal courts ruled in favor of transgender students in two cases. In Florida, a U.S. District Court ruled that, by denying Drew Adams access to the boys’ room, a local school board had violated his rights to equal protection of the law under the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, as well as violating Title IX. The U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a Pennsylvania school district’s decision to implement a trans-inclusive policy in the Doe v. Boyertown case.

Trans students have the right to be treated according to their gender identities and to be called by the name and pronouns that match their gender identity. Additionally, they have the right to not be harassed because they are transgender or gender non-conforming, and they have the right to use the restroom that matches their gender identity.

 

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