Arcadia School District Settles Transgender Student Complaint
ARCADIA (CBSLA.com) — Officials with the Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD) have agreed to a settlement to resolve an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student based on the student’s sex, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
School board officials unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday night to take action to ensure the student, who was born female and whose gender identity is male, “will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district,” according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The agreement, joined by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which participated in the investigation, resolves a complaint filed in October 2011.
The complaint alleged the district had prohibited the student from accessing facilities consistent with his male gender identity, including restrooms and locker rooms at school, as well as sex-specific overnight accommodations at a school-sponsored trip, because of his gender identity.
Prosecutors say the student – who was a seventh-grader at the time the complaint was filed – began a gender transition from female to male during his fifth-grade year in 2009-2010 while attending an elementary school in the AUSD.
His family began the gender transition process after the student was “teased and socially ostracized” by classmates over “his masculine clothing and hairstyle, which did not conform to female stereotypes,” according to prosecutors. On one occasion, a classmate reportedly referred to the student as “it”.
As part of the transition, the student “adopted a new, traditionally male first name, expressed a desire to be referred to with masculine pronouns; and continued outwardly to present as a male, including in his clothing and hairstyle,” the Department of Justice said.
Once the student’s classmates were notified of his gender transition, he was immediately accepted as male and harassment of the student ceased, according to both family members and the AUSD.
Under the settlement agreement, the district agreed to work with a consultant to amend its policies involving gender-based discrimination and train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a “nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students,” prosecutors said.
The agreement comes less than a month after California lawmakers approved a bill that would require public K-12 schools to let transgender students choose which restrooms they use and which school teams they join based on their gender identity instead of their chromosomes.
Click here (PDF) to read the full settlement from the U.S. Department of Justice.