New York State Education Department Releases Guidance Designed to Protect Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students from Discrimination

NYS Dept. of Education SealIn time for the start of the school year, the New York State Education Department released comprehensive guidance to help ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming students are safe in schools and able to learn in discrimination-free environments. The guidance has been sent to all public schools in the state to “help districts comply with local, state, and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, discrimination, and student privacy, and meet schools’ obligation to provide all students with a safe and inclusive environment.”

TLDEF applauds the Education Department for releasing this important guidance. It will serve as a vital tool for districts to ensure they are following the law and fostering a climate of safety, inclusivity and educational opportunity for transgender and gender nonconforming students throughout New York.

The guidance addresses schools’ responsibilities to prevent bullying and harassment of transgender students. It sets forth rules for treating transgender and gender nonconforming students respectfully, including ensuring that they are addressed by their chosen names and preferred gender pronouns, and allowed access to bathrooms that match who they are as boys and girls.

Ensuring that transgender students can take part in their school environments as their authentic selves keeps them safe, builds their confidence, and helps them to succeed in school. Transgender and gender nonconforming youth face unique challenges in school that this guidance is meant to address. We commend the state and all of the advocates who contributed to creating this guidance and look forward to seeing it fully integrated in schools throughout New York.