Torlakson: State law protects transgender students’ rights

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released a statement Wednesday, reiterating his support for the rights of transgender students and reminded all Californians that state law requires public schools to allow students’ access to the restroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.

The statement came shortly before it was announced by the Trump administration that federal protections on transgender bathrooms in schools would be withdrawn.

“All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment. California will continue to work to provide that environment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students regardless of any misguided directives by the federal government and the Trump administration,” Torlakson said.

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice revoked federal guidelines adopted by the Obama administration that protect the rights of transgender students at schools by allowing them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.

According to the press release, California became the first state in the nation to enshrine certain rights for transgender K–12 students in state law in 2013, including the right to choose the bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.

Torlakson said action announced by the White House does not roll back protections for California students and educators.

“California students will continue to have their civil rights protected,” he said. “In California we move forward, not backward.”

Governor Brown signed AB 1266 in 2013 and created protections for transgender students.

 

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