Two school districts, two different policies for transgender students

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Sep 15, 2016 12:35 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Transgender students in two midstate school districts could have very different experiences this year.

A group says Fairfield Area School District in Adams County is the first rural district in the state to allow transgender students to access the bathroom that matches up with their gender identity, not their sex.

Jason Goodman with the Pennsylvania Youth Congress - which advocates for gay rights - says at least a dozen districts statewide have approved similar measures.

"It's education for schools, it's education for administrators to understand these issues. And once we discuss and understand how it's important to support transgender students, we can really move forward in these policies and in dignity and respect for all students in our schools," says Goodman.

But Northern Lebanon appears to be headed in the opposite direction.

Its school board recently considered language that would require students to use the bathroom or locker room that matches up with the sex on their birth certificate.

The Board Director David Hauck says the policy is about safety and privacy.

A district in the Pittsburgh area recently approved such a policy, which Goodman calls a backwards decision.

"While it's great to say we support all students and go home, that doesn't really do justice or doesn't even really provide a background or structure for how you secure that. That's why we just don't have in the Constitution, all men are created equal and leave it there," he adds.

Goodman points to laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he says shows how specific written policies protect people's rights.

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