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STAFF ED: District needs inclusive transgender policy

March 20, 2017

With the Trump administration, under pressure from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, rescinding protections for transgender students allowing them to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity, it becomes the responsibility of the states and, failing that, school districts to protect the dignity of the individual no matter their gender identity.

Fortunately, the Washington state Human Rights Commission issued a rule in 2015 guaranteeing people to access bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to the gender they identify with. Unfortunately, the Wenatchee School District has not adopted a policy that guarantees that state employees in public schools will comply with this rule; the district handles transgender students on a case-by-case basis instead of confronting the issue head-on.  

The administration at Wenatchee High School has handled the issue of transgender students in a manner adhering to state guidelines, and so the request to adopt a blanket policy would not be correcting a wrong as much as showing public support for the transgender students who widely get swept under the table.

Nearly 100 people approached the district school board this summer in opposition to the assimilation of state guidelines, under the grounds that the rule could be exploited by people wishing to invade the privacy of other students. However, Eastmont School District adopted the state policy and has not experienced the situations that are commonly cited as fears of bathroom policy opposers. It’s time to look at real, tangible results instead of listening to fear mongering based in fiction. We can take example from our neighbors across the river and adopt policy that follows state guidelines and protect transgender students from potential discrimination, as they have. The Wenatchee School District released a statement expressing their support for immigrant families; it’s time they did the same for transgender students.

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