WBRU talks with the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island on its latest petition to the Rhode Island Department of Education.
The Rhode Island Department of Education discussed school transgender policies yesterday, according to WPRI. The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has been urging the Rhode Island Department of Education to issue guidelines to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students since President Donald Trump and United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos repealed Title IX protections for transgender students.
The Trump administration’s rollback of Title IX rights would enforce restrictions for transgender students to use sex-segregated facilities, such as bathrooms or showers. The move has been validated as a means of protecting cis-gender students who may feel uncomfortable.
This move has been described by Marcela Betancur of ACLU of Rhode Island as an “abuse of power…to take these rights away from students, under federal law [and] a direct violation of student’s individual rights.”
Last month, the RI ACLU gave RIDE a petition asking for the protections of trans and gender nonconforming students. The petition came after an ACLU report showed that out of Rhode Island’s 33 districts, nearly 30% did not have policies to protect these students, according to Betancur. The petition asks that RIDE put forth guidelines based on their existing guide for schools on trans and gender nonconforming students, which schools are not currently forced to follow. The goal, according to Betancur, is for policies to focus on privacy, confidentiality, and to ensure that students are referred to by their preferred name and gender.
Betancur stated it was “the responsibility of the Department of Education to ensure that [school districts] were protecting the civil liberties and rights of all their students that are transgender and gender non-conforming.”