OCR Announces Resolution of A Civil Rights Investigation

The?Office?for?Civil?Rights?(OCR)?announced?on?OCTOBER?14,?2014?that?it?has?

entered?into?an?agreement?with?California’s?Downey?Unified?School?District?to

?resolve?a?complaint?about?the?harassment?and?discriminatory?treatment?of?a?

transgender?student.?The?complaint?alleged?that?the?District?discriminated?

against?a?transgender?student?by?failing?to?respond?adequately?to?complaints?

that?the?student?was?subjected?to?verbal?harassment?by?peers?and?that?staff?

at?the?student’s?school?disciplined?her?for?wearing?make-up,?discouraged?her?from?speaking?about?her?gender?identity?with?classmates?

and?suggested?that?she?transfer?to?another?school.

“Our?federal?civil?rights?laws?protect?all?students?from?sex-based?discrimination?and?harassment,”?said?Catherine?E.?Lhamon,?assistant?

secretary?for?civil?rights.?“I?commend?the?Downey?Unified?School?District?for?

entering?into?this?agreement?to?ensure?that?each?of?its?students,?including?

transgender?students?and?students?who?do?not?conform?to?stereotyped?notions?

of?masculinity?or?femininity,?can?learn?in?a?safe,?educational?environment.”

Prior?to?the?conclusion?of?OCR’s?investigation,?the?District?requested?to?

resolve?this?complaint?through?a?voluntary?agreement.?Under?the?terms?of?the?

voluntary?agreement,?the?District?will?ensure?that?gender?nonconforming?and?

transgender?students?can?participate?fully?in?the?District’s?programs?and?

activities?in?a?safe,?educational?environment.

The?District?committed?to?take?the?following?actions:

l?Engage?a?consultant?with?expertise?on?child?and?adolescent?gender?

identity,including?experience?with?discrimination?against?gender?

nonconforming?and?transgender?students,?to?support?and?assist?the?District?

with?implementing?the?provisions?of?the?agreement;

l?Work?with?its?consultant?to?ensure?a?school?climate?free?of?harassment?by

?incorporating?age-appropriate?information?for?students?on?gender?identity,?

gender-based?discrimination?and?harassment;

l?Continue?to?treat?the?student?the?same?as?other?female?students?in?all?

respects?in?the?education?programs?and?activities?offered?by?the?District,?

including?access?to?sex-designated?facilities?for?female?students;

l?Notify?the?student?and?the?complainant?that?they?may?request?that?the?

District?develop?a?Student?Success?Plan?to?ensure?the?student?has?equal?

access?and?opportunity?to?participate?in?all?programs?and?activities,?and?is?

otherwise?protected?from?gender-based?discrimination?at?school;

l?Ensure?that?the?student?is?not?disciplined?for?acting?or?appearing?in?a?

manner?that?does?not?conform?to?stereotypical?notions?of?masculinity?or?

femininity;

l?Remove?all?discipline?imposed?on?the?student?during?the?2011?12?school?

??year?from?the?student’s?records;

l?Review?District?policies,?procedures?and?regulations?applicable?to?student

?participation?in?all?programs?and?activities?offered?by?the?District?and?

?make?necessary?revisions?to?ensure?that?all?students,?including?students?who?

?do?not?conform?to?sex?stereotypes,?are?provided?an?equal?opportunity?to

?participate?in?all?such?programs?and?activities?in?a?manner?that?does?not?

discriminate?based?on?sex,?gender?identity?or?gender?expression;

l?Develop?an?implementation?guide?for?administrators,?faculty?and?staff?

that?addresses?how?the?District’s?gender-based?discrimination?policies?apply

?to?transgender?and?gender?nonconforming?students;

l?Conduct?mandatory?training?on?issues?related?to?gender?nonconformance?and?

??genderbased?harassment?for?District?and?schoolsite?administrators?who?have?

??the?responsibility?of?investigating?or?supervising?the?investigation?of?

?gender-based?harassment?complaints?and?implementing?other?anti-discrimination?policies?and?procedures?regarding?transgender?and?gender?

??nonconforming?students;?and

l?Conduct?annual?school?climate?assessments,?including?a?student?and?parent?

survey,?to?evaluate?the?effectiveness?of?the?District’s?bullying?and?

harassment?prevention?efforts.

OCR?will?closely?monitor?implementation?of?the?agreement?to?ensure?that?the?

commitments?made?are?implemented?in?a?timely,?effective?manner.

A?copy?of?the?resolution?letter?can?be?found?here.?A?copy?of?the?agreement?

can?be?found?here.

OCR’s?mission?is?to?ensure?equal?access?to?education?and?promote?

educational?excellence?throughout?the?nation?through?the?vigorous?

enforcement?of?civil?rights.?The?office?is?responsible?for?enforcing?federal

?civil?rights?laws?that?prohibit?discrimination?by?educational?institutions?

on?the?basis?of?race,?color,?national?origin,?disability,?sex?and?age,?as?

well?as?the?Boy?Scouts?of?America?Equal?Access?Act?of?2001.?Additional?

information?about?OCR?is?available?here.

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