Wake County Schools keeps giving vague and shifting answers on their facilities access with regards to students identifying as ‘transgender’. Here’s the history.
I first wrote about the Transgender facilities access in schools in November 2015:
I posed the following question: Does Wake have a plan to incorporate transgenderism into the district policies and intend on including it in sexual education classes? I also asked if Wake County would be allowing transgender students to use locker rooms and restrooms of their choice, as well as any future plans to create such spaces for youth who allegedly identify as transgender.
The answer I received from the Wake County Schools Communication department was brief:
Hello Miss Dillon,
Hope you are well. Educators in the school system work with issues involving transgender students on a case-by-case basis and will continue to do so. Like you, we are also following the national discussion.
The Wake County School Board did not respond to my request for comment.
I wrote again about Wake County Schools policies in January 2016:
Last week, according to WRAL, a petition was brought to the Wake Board of Education demanding a policy change that would allow transgender students to use facilities designated for the opposite sex.
What’s interesting is that, according to the WRAL article, the Wake board has already quietly made changes to district policies:
Director of Counseling at Wake County Schools Crystal Reardon said federal privacy laws do not allow her to discuss individual student cases. This past summer, the district strengthened existing policies “to include a prohibition of any kind of discrimination based on gender identity,” she said.
Reardon said that the district is taking [student C.J.] Lewis’ petition seriously and that school workers consider any student requests, but there is much more they also have to consider.
When I reached out to WCPSS for comment on the petition and the idea that these requests were being made and fulfilled, board Chairman Tom Benton responded with a single sentence, “There [have] been no board level discussions regarding this issue.”
I also asked the district’s communications department for comment. Lisa Luten, Director of Communications, said, “We do not keep district records of these requests.”
Now in June, we have Lisa Luten of Wake County Schools cited in the Charlotte Observer in an article outlining how Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are violating HB 2 in favor of the Department of Education’s “guidelines”.
Here’s the pertinent section, emphasis added:
In Wake County schools, a spokeswoman said only the district attorney could determine whether the district is complying with federal guidelines but the procedures she described for transgender bathroom use appear to at least partially meet the requirements.
The district works to make accommodations on a case-by-case basis, said spokeswoman Lisa Luten.
Sometimes, Luten said, transgender students are able to access multi-stall restrooms based on their gender identity. In other cases, she said, students are directed to use single-user facilities.
The reasons why some students have different arrangements vary and can’t be traced back to just one qualifier, she said. For example, Luten said, not all transgender students want to use multi-stall facilities and some non-transgender students ask for more privacy or need single-stall bathrooms for other reasons.
So which is it? Are they keeping track? Are they not keeping track? What schools are involved here? Are parents at these schools being informed?
Also, where is the legislature? Are these districts violating HB 2? Arguably yes.