School districts plan for transgender student law to go into effect

8:41 PM, Dec 18, 2013   |    comments
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EDITOR'S NOTE Dec. 19: The Twin Rivers Unified School District issued a statement saying that it "has policies aimed at protecting all students from discrimination, including those who are transgender. However, we are reviewing model transgender policies for further discussion/action." An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the district's position.

Many school districts throughout the Central Valley are moving forward with a new state law that goes into effect Jan. 1.

Transgender students will be allowed to choose which restroom they want to use and which sports team they join, depending on with which gender they identify.

Opponents of the law are hoping a repeal campaign pulls ahead and places the decision in the hands of California voters, but the Sacramento City Unified School District is taking matters into its own hands. Before students leave for winter break, the school district is working to change its own policies when it comes to transgendered youth.

"It would give transgendered students the right to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that corresponded with their gender identity," Sacramento City Unified Integrated Sports Services Director Lawrence Shweky said.

District administrators will present a new policy before the school board on Thursday. If passed, the rule would mirror the controversial law passed by Gov. Jerry Brown, allowing students to use the restrooms corresponding to their gender identity instead of their biological sex. The same rule would apply for sports teams.

The policy would be implemented by the start of the year and officials would be required to accommodate a student's request with permission from their parent.

"It's about respecting and embracing the diversity that we have in our community," Shweky said.

In the meantime, the state law is slated to go into effect come Jan. 1, but opponents are hoping a referendum campaign to repeal the law pulls through.

"Whether the law passed or didn't pass, or ultimately what happens with the referendum will not affect our progress going forward with this policy," Shweky said.

While SCUSD is taking the initiative, some school districts like Manteca said they're already training staff to follow the new guidelines.

In a statement to News 10, officials at Twin Rivers Unified said they have "policies at protecting all students from discrimination, including those who are transgender. However, [the district] is reviewing model transgender policies for further discussion."

San Juan Unified officials say they are also reviewing their current policies while they wait to hear from the California Secretary of State's office.

As of Wednesday evening, 79 percent of signatures counted so far have been considered valid. That's a little more than 200,000. To quality to be a ballot measure, more than 500,000 valid signatures are needed. The state has until Jan. 8 to finish counting all signatures.



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