Transgender student prompts group to ask Colorado school to alter restroom policy

By Carol McGraw Updated: January 17, 2014 at 7:45 am • Published: January 16, 2014 | 6:30 pm 0
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A California-based organization is asking Fremont School District RE 2 to change its policy and provide separate bathroom and locker room facilities for a transgender high school student.

The Pacific Justice Institute, a legal organization that defends religious freedom and parental rights recently sent the district a letter and suggestion for changing the policy, said PJI President Brad Dacus.

PJI represents two sets of parents concerned that their daughters share bathrooms and locker rooms with a transgender female student at Florence High School.

"This has been going on for months. The daughters feel very uncomfortable using the girls' bathroom and locker room when there is a boy in there," Dacus said.

The policy change would protect privacy of all the students, he said.

Dacus said this is the second letter his group has sent the district, but the first with a suggested policy change included. He has not heard back.

"We are hopeful they will have their attorney review it and respond," he said.

Fremont RE-2 Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti said the district had received the letter and policy recommendation and that the school board will discuss it during a Feb. 10 workshop.

"We believe we have addressed the concerns of our families on both sides of the issue," Vendetti said.

The district policy supports equitable use of restrooms for all students, and it has an alternative single-user restroom available to them. She said the district has submitted a copy of its policy to the Colorado Division of Civil Rights for review.

The issue of transgender youth sharing facilities has become an issue in schools across the country.

Last year in the Colorado Springs suburb of Fountain, the Colorado Division of Civil Rights ruled that 6-year-old Coy Mathis, a transgender girl, should be allowed girls' restroom.

Coy's mother, Kathryn Mathis, later began home schooling her daughter and later the family relocated to Aurora. Mathis said that Coy began insisting she was a girl as early as 18-months.

On Jan. 1, California became the first state in the nation to enact a law that ensures transgender students in public schools be allowed equal access to facilities and activities consistent with their gender identities.

However a coalition of conservative groups has been gathering signatures for a referendum to repeal the law.

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Contact Carol McGraw: 636-0371. Twitter @mcgrawatgazette Facebook: Carol McGraw

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