Lambda Legal Urges Pine-Richland School District to Maintain Safe and Affirming Bathroom Policy

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April 18, 2016
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Tonight at the Pine-Richland School District school board meeting in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Lambda Legal attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan will stand with transgender students and their parents if recently proposed discriminatory policies are discussed.

Last month, Lambda Legal sent a letter to the Pine-Richland School District urging the school board to continue to retain the school’s inclusive bathroom policy, which allows transgender students to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity and is in step with federal and state law.

This week, the school board will be holding two meetings, one tonight and then again on Thursday. Lambda Legal attorneys will be present at both meetings.

Know Your Rights: Bathrooms and Locker Rooms

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal, said:

The proposed policies violate federal law and should be rejected in no uncertain terms. Quite admirably, the District’s current practice of allowing transgender students to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity and fostering a safe and affirming environment for all its students has been working well for a number of years. However, anti-LGBT organizations, including the Alliance Defending Freedom, are once again peddling misinformation, promoting discrimination and creating problems where there were none.

Nationwide, school districts like Pine-Richland have embraced non-discriminatory policies for their students, and instead of chaos, school officials have witnessed flourishing and respectful student bodies. We commend the Pine-Richland School District for following the law and taking the needed steps to ensure all students feel safe and affirmed. Anything else, including discriminatory policies pushed by anti-LGBT groups, is illegal.

Since 2014, ADF has waged similar transphobic campaigns in several school districts across the country. In Ohio, Missouri, and more recently, in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York, the group has attempted to impose its discriminatory views onto communities who are otherwise determined to respect all students. Lambda Legal, alongside the communities in these districts, has stood up against such discriminatory and misguided attempts.

An excerpt from the letter:

Transgender and gender-nonconforming students seek nothing more than to be treated like all other students and with dignity and respect. A practice or policy that would force transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that are not appropriate to their gender identity, or that would require them to use a separate, single user restroom or locker room would not be consistent with notions of fairness, equality and dignity and would run afoul of the School District’s obligations under local, state, and federal anti-discrimination law.

Read the press release.