Schools seek advice on gender directive
CENTREVILLE — Queen Anne’s County Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Carol Williamson issued issued a statement Friday, May 13, saying the local school system is seeking clarification from the state on how to handle a directive from the United States Department of Education to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.
“This morning [Friday, May 13] Queen Anne’s County Public Schools learned through news reports, of a letter from the United Stated Department of Education going to all school systems receiving federal funds. It directed them to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. As a result of this order, we are receiving calls and emails from parents,” Williamson wrote.
“While we have not received the letter, I do have access to it online. I am contacting the Maryland State Department of Education, other Maryland superintendents and our attorney to receive guidance on the mandate, its scope, and any compliance options available to us. We will then communicate to parents and employees any operational changes in our schools caused by this order. We know that there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, but I need to better understand the order before I establish procedures for implementation. Thank you for your understanding.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, when students or their parents, as appropriate, notify a school that a student is transgender, the school must treat the student consistent with the student’s gender identity.
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status.
The guidance makes clear that both federal agencies treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.
Anyone wishing to comment on this issue is encouraged to email Williamson or members of the school board. Contact information can be found on the QACPS website, www.qacps.org. The next school board meeting that will offer public comment is set for June 1 at the central office in Centreville. The board has announced the public portion of the meeting begins at 6 p.m., even though the actual meeting begins earlier.