Lambda Legal Condemns Suburban Pittsburgh School District Vote to Discriminate Against Transgender Students

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September 13, 2016

Lambda Legal today condemned last night’s 5-4 vote by the Pine-Richland School District school board in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to implement a new policy on restroom and locker room access that singles out transgender students for discriminatory treatment.

"Addressing imaginary problems, a bare majority of the Pine-Richland school board reversed years of inclusionary practices and adopted a new discriminatory policy that harms vulnerable transgender students,” Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said. “All students deserve respect, understanding, and equal educational opportunities. Lambda Legal will do whatever is necessary to protect transgender students' rights in the Pine-Richland School District and in school districts across the country."

Last night’s vote followed months of controversy after a group of anti-LGBT organizations took aim at the Pine-Richland School District’s prior inclusive and affirming restroom practice, which had allowed transgender students to use facilities in accordance with their gender identity and in step with federal and state law.

Students: Know Your Rights about Bathrooms and Locker Rooms

In March, Lambda Legal sent an advocacy letter to the district on behalf of various Pine-Richland transgender students urging district officials and the school board to reject the misinformation peddled by parties seeking to discriminate against transgender students and to retain the positive practices that had been implemented without problem.

Lambda Legal attorneys sent more letters and were present at several school board meetings over the intervening months.

"This new policy violates federal law and should be reversed immediately,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “The District’s previous policy of fostering a safe and affirming environment for all its students, with the adoption of a trans-inclusive restroom practice, has been working well for years. This is not unique to Pine-Richland. Nationwide, school districts have embraced non-discriminatory policies for their students, and instead of chaos, school officials have witnessed flourishing and respectful environments for students, which is what they deserve.”

Read the press release.