(San Francisco) Local school boards and communities this week continued their progress towards implementing the School Success and Opportunity Act, which Governor Brown signed earlier this year. The new law restates existing anti-discrimination law to ensure that all students, including transgender students, have the opportunity to fully participate and succeed in schools.
Kane Tajnai, a student at Gunderson High School in San Jose, said: “When I came out as transgender, my administrators told me they would use the newly signed School Success and Opportunity Act as their guide to ensure everyone would have a good experience and I could continue to fully participate in school. The law — and my administration’s support – made all the difference. I’m so glad other Bay Area counties and districts are leading their schools to do the same.”
The Marin County Board of Education resolution noted that, “due to lack of awareness of how to support transgender students in some school districts, transgender students are often improperly excluded from participating in school-based activities, programs and facilities … [which] isolates and stigmatizes transgender students, puts them at increased risk of harassment and violence, harms their long term health and well-being, and often prevents them from earning the credits they need to graduate.”
Marin County’s actions were followed Thursday by a vote of the Berkeley Unified School District to adopt a new policy to provide a, “safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all students, including transgender students … in all school activities, programs, facilities, and educational opportunities.” Sacramento City Unified School District will consider a similar measure this week.
“All students deserve the same opportunity to study and learn in a safe environment, including transgender students,” said John O’Connor, executive director of Equality California. “We’re excited to see leaders in education stand up in support of the School Success and Opportunity Act and for acknowledging that all students deserve a fair shot at success.”
The School Success and Opportunity Act is poised to take effect in 2014, and to ensure that school administrators understand their responsibility for the success and well-being of all students, and parents and students understand their rights. The Support All Students coalition, comprising Equality California, Transgender Law Center, GSA Network, National Center for Lesbian Rights and the ACLU, thanked the educators for their support of this historic bill. To learn more, please visit www.supportallstudents.org.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org