Superintendent Reykdal opposing gender change proposal

Dec 26, 2018
State Superintendent of Schools Chris Reykdal.

State School Superintendent Chris Reykdal, joining top education officials from Oregon and California, has sent a letter opposing the federal government’s proposal to changing the definition “gender.”

The joint letter was sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in coordination with California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill.

Recently, the New York Times obtained a copy of a memo from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The memo outlined a proposal for government agencies to adopt a uniform definition of “gender” as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.”

Washington state law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on a student’s gender expression or identity in public schools.

“I want to be clear: No matter what changes are made at the federal level, our public schools will continue to abide by state law,” Reykdal said.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction issued formal guidelines in 2012 to assist school districts in implementation of the law prohibiting discrimination in public schools.

The guidelines make clear that students:

  • must be permitted to dress according to the gender in which they consistently identify;
  • must be addressed using the name and pronouns of their choice;
  • must be allowed to participate in physical education and athletic activities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity;
  • must be allowed to use the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity;
  • must have access to an alternative restroom if they have a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason;
  • must, in most cases, have access to the locker room that corresponds with their gender identity; and
  • must be protected from bullying and discriminatory harassment.

School districts are required to comply with the guidelines, and have been doing so successfully for six years now.

Said Reykald: “To our students who are transgender: We hear you. We see you. We support you. We will protect you.”

To read the Edmonds School District’s policy on transgender students, go to bit.ly/2rHc79i.

 

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