Statement from Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland regarding recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education
Seattle Public Schools serves a rich and diverse community and we are dedicated to providing safe, welcoming, and inclusive schools for all students regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity, country of origin, immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
As a community and as a district, we have long recognized the importance of creating the best environments for students to learn and grow. In order to create the best environments for learning, we also recognize our moral obligation and legal responsibility to protect students from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.
Prior to the federal guidance concerning transgender students provided in May 2016, our district established Superintendent Procedure 3210SP.C, Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action: Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.
This procedure defines the rights that all transgender and gender nonconforming students attending Seattle Public Schools possess. It is a procedure that is here to stay.
The rights established in support of transgender students in our Superintendent Procedure not only align with our mission to provide safe, welcoming, and inclusive schools, but Washington state law also supports them. RCW 28A.642.010 indicates that discrimination in Washington public schools based on gender expression or identity is prohibited. By providing these rights, we also ensure compliance with this important law.
Therefore, the recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education to rescind that guidance will not have an impact on our schools.
There will be no change to the district’s policy:
The District prohibits discrimination on the basis of any of the following categories: sex (gender); race; creed; color; religion; ancestry; national origin; age; economic status; sexual orientation including gender expression or identity; pregnancy; marital status; physical appearance; the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability; honorably discharged veteran or military status; or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability.
Further, the district will continue to ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming students’ rights are protected and upheld including:
- To be addressed by the name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity.
- To access restroom facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
- To access locker room facilities that correspond to their gender identity.
- To dress in accordance with their gender identity.
- To have their educational record reflect their gender identity.
- To participate in physical education, club sports, and interscholastic athletic teams in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
- To be assigned to overnight accommodations in accordance with their gender identity.
We do whatever it takes to make sure every student thrives in Seattle Public Schools. I want to reassure our community that we will continue to do everything within our power to provide schools where students’ rights are protected and they are safe, honored, and respected.
Superintendent Larry Nyland