TLDEF Applauds New York State Education Department for New Guidance Designed to Protect Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students from Discrimination

NYS Dept. of Education SealJuly 21, 2015 - TLDEF commends the New York State Education Department for releasing comprehensive guidance to help ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming students are safe in schools and able to learn in discrimination-free environments. The Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Guidance Document has been sent to all public school districts in the state in an effort to “help districts comply with local, state, and federal laws concerning bullying, harrassment, discrimination, and student privacy, and meet schools’ obligation to provide all students with a safe and inclusive environment.”

Statement from TLDEF Staff Attorney Ethan Rice

“We applaud the New York State Education Department for releasing this important guidance to school districts across the state. The document will serve as a vital tool for districts to ensure they are following the law and fostering a climate of safety, inclusivity and educational opportunity for transgender and gender nonconforming students in public schools throughout New York.

“Transgender and gender nonconforming students face alarming rates of bullying and harassment in school. The state’s new guidance makes clear that this kind of treatment will not be tolerated, as it violates the state’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). The guidance also sets forth rules for treating transgender and gender nonconforming students respectfully including ensuring that they are addressed by their chosen names and preferred gender pronouns; and allowing them access to restrooms and other other facilities that align with who they are as boys and girls, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

“Ensuring that transgender students can take part in their school environments as their authentic selves keeps them safe, builds their confidence, and helps them to succeed in school. States around the country are recognizing the importance of supporting transgender students and we’re thrilled to see New York State follow suit. Transgender and gender nonconforming youth face unique challenges in school that require this kind of guidance to ensure that they have the same opportunities as all students that allow them to thrive. We commend the state and all of the advocates who contributed to making this guidance a reality and look forward to seeing it fully integrated across districts."