Education Law Center attorney begs to differ: Law is quite clear on trans students' rights

Kristina Moon
Education Law Center

Over the past few months, the attacks on LGBTQ students' rights in schools have been unrelenting. This is a direct result of an increase in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and harmful policy proposals at both the state and local school district levels.

Schools have an obligation to ensure that students who are LGBTQ or gender-expansive are allowed to be their full, authentic selves in school and to prevent and address any bullying, stigma, or harassment in school. Under the law, schools have a duty to intervene and correct policies or practices that discriminate against students based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Red Lion trans students told to use bathrooms of sex assigned at birth or gender neutral

Red Lion moves forward with forum on transgender students amid public furor

Dear Red Lion: Stop bullying your LGBTQ students

An all gender restroom sign at Archetype Pizza in York City, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Your Dec. 12 article “Red Lion moves forward with forum on transgender students amid public furor” quoted a spokesperson from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association incorrectly saying that case law on school bathroom access for transgender students is “unsettled.”

Actually, case law is quite clear on this issue. Multiple federal courts across the country, including two district courts in Pennsylvania, have found that transgender students have the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity (see Doe v. Boyertown Area Sch. Dist. and Evancho v. Pine-Richland Sch. Dist.). 

Policies that infringe on this right, like the directive implemented at Red Lion Area School District, put trans students at great risk. They are already a particularly vulnerable group of students, and it is the school’s responsibility to ensure they have access to safe and affirming learning environments.

— Kristina Moon is a senior attorney with the Education Law Center in Pennsylvania.