Pennsylvania school districts encouraged to add transgender students to nondiscrimination policies

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Jun 3, 2013 11:38 AM
Rainbow flag, gay rights

(Harrisburg) -- School districts across the state are being encouraged to mold their anti-discrimination policies to protect transgender students.

The American Civil Liberties Union raised the issue after a student in the Red Lion Area School District asked to have his chosen, male name read at graduation.

The York County district said it would allow him to wear male robes, but will read his legal, female name at the ceremony.

Jason Landau Goodman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, says the case is a prime example of how schools struggle with the issue.

He says only a handful of the commonwealth's 500 districts recognize discrimination based on gender identity.

"Over half of school districts in Pennsylvania protect on the basis of sexual orientation, but still we're not at 100 percent," Goodman says. "We need to be at 100 percent of districts protecting against discrimination, regardless of who you are."

Goodman says his group is putting together a policy school districts can use as a model for protecting transgender students from discrimination.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network reports 13 states and Washington, DC have laws prohibiting discrimination in schools based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.

The York Daily Record has a look at how gender identity is proving new ground for school districts and their policies.

Published in News, York

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