Education Hub




Thursday Speed Read: Title IX, Rea Carey, Asylum Seeking, Ohio, Colorado, Maryland

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PROTECTION FOR NON-CONFORMING:

EducationThe U.S. Department of Education (ED) on Tuesday released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” The DOE’s guidance makes clear that its Office of Civil Rights “accepts such complaints for investigation.” The guidance requires school officials to “investigate and resolve allegations of sexual violence regarding LGBT students using the same procedures and standards that it uses in all complaints involving sexual violence.” National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey called it a “giant leap forward” toward “staggering rates of discrimination” against students who are transgender or non-conforming to gender role expectations.

NGLTF LEADER ARRESTED AT RALLY: Carey

NGLTF Executive Director Rea Carey was one of 27 people arrested for blocking an intersection on Capitol Hill Wednesday in a protest against the refusal of the Republican-led U.S. House to take up an immigration reform bill. The Fair Immigration Reform Movement organized the protest. NGLTF estimates that more than 250,000 of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants are LGBT.

FOCUS ON ASYLUM:

Immigration Equality held a press conference in front of the White House Tuesday afternoon to urge President Obama to provide relief to LGBT people seeking asylum in the United States. The group says it has more than 300 clients in need of asylum. According to the organization’s website, persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status can be a basis for the Bureau of Immigration Appeals to grant asylum.

OhioNEW OHIO LAWSUIT:

Ohio civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein has filed another lawsuit in federal court in Cincinnati seeking to strike down that state’s ban against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The lawsuit filed Wednesday, Gibson v. Himes, is being brought on behalf of six same-sex couples. Earlier this month, another Gerhardstein lawsuit won a ruling from a federal district court judge in Cincinnati to recognize the out-of-state marriages of four same-sex couples and put the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. That case is now on appeal to the Sixth Circuit.

ColoradoCOLORADO POLLS RISING?

A poll by Quinnipiac University of 1,298 registered voters this month found a whopping 61 percent support allowing same-sex couples to marry. Last December, Public Policy Polling surveyed 928 Colorado voters and found only 48 percent said they would support allowing same-sex couples to marry. The December poll, however, gave voters a choice of allowing gays to marry or have civil unions. Thirty-two percent were OK with civil unions. In terms of voters opposed, 18 percent said that in December there should be “no” legal recognition of same-sex relationships, 32 percent said they “oppose” allowing them to marry.

MarylandMARYLAND BALLOT BATTLE BREWING:

A Republican-led group announced Tuesday that it will seek a referendum this November on a bill passed by the Maryland legislature to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. The governor has not yet signed the bill, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, but is expected to. The group, MDPetitions.com, is referring to the measure as “The Bathroom Bill,” a moniker frequently used by opponents of gender equality to stir fears that the non-discrimination law will enable men to enter women’s restrooms to harass or attack them.” The group must first collect 55,736 signatures by June 30, including one-third of those by May 31.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Proposed Financial Punishment of South Carolina Colleges For Assigning Gay Books May Die In Senate

Early last month, South Carolina Republican lawmakers in the House voted to slash about $70,000 in funding to the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg because the schools assigned LGBT-themed books to incoming freshmen.

SmithBut it looks like the House’s proposal may die in the state Senate. The State reports:

The debate could come up in Senate Finance Committee, which will work this week to complete its budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. But the subcommittee that writes the budget for public colleges didn't include the cuts in its recommendations. That panel's chairman, Senate President Pro Tem John Courson, made clear he believes the Legislature shouldn't micromanage universities' curriculum.

"I think that should be up to the presidents of the institution and the board of trustees which the General Assembly elects," said Courson, R-Columbia…

"This whole issue is pretty baffling to me that we're talking about something like this in the year 2014," said Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, noting the students are adults…

Rep. Garry Smith (pictured), who proposed the cuts, argues that freedom comes with responsibility, and the colleges were neither responsible nor responsive to legislators who approve their budgets. The Legislature sets policy, and the budget should be "reflective of the values and mindset of the citizens of the state," said Smith, R-Simpsonville.

Someone might want to tell Representative Smith that “the values and mindset of the citizens of the state” are gradually creeping towards acceptance of gay and lesbian citizens.


U.S. Dept. of Education Issues Groundbreaking Guidance: Title IX Protects Transgender Students from Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education today issued new guidance that makes it clear that Title IX law protects transgender students from discrimination, the National Center for Transgender Equality reports:

EducationThe guidance, from the Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), states: "Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and OCR accepts such complaints for investigation."

"This announcement is a breakthrough for transgender students, who too often face hostility at school and refusal by school officials to accept them for who they truly are," said NCTE Policy Director Harper Jean Tobin. "It is now clearer than ever that schools nationwide are responsible for ensuring that transgender students are respected and safe, and students can seek protection from the Department of Education and the courts if schools fail to do so."

...This historic statement on gender identity is embedded in a larger guidance document on the responsibilities of schools to prevent and respond to sexual violence against any student—part of a package of guidance and resources announced by the Obama Administration today to address this widespread problem. Also being launched is a new website, NotAlone.gov, collecting resources for students and schools and reporting settlements with schools related to sexual violence on campus. NCTE applauds the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and the federal agencies involved in this effort.

"Sexual violence in schools is shockingly common in the U.S. and needs to stop," said NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling. "That the Federal Government is addressing sexual violence is so important. And it is also important, and honestly a relief, that the Department of Education is clarifying Title IX in a way that will make schools safer for transgender students."

 The ACLU adds:

"This guidance is crystal clear and leaves no room for uncertainty on the part of schools regarding their legal obligation to protect transgender students from discrimination," said Ian Thompson, ACLU legislative representative. "The Office for Civil Rights must now take the next step and issue comprehensive guidance on Title IX and transgender students."

Read the guidance document HERE.


Bans on Discussion of Homosexuality in UK Schools on the Rise

Delegates at the UK’s Union of Teachers annual conference this week reported a growing number of schools have begun introducing bans on the promotion or positive portrayal of homosexuality.

The wording of many of these bans apparently mirrors that of Section 28 - the controversial clause introduced under the Thatcher Government in the late 1980s.

The Independent reports:

Uk schoolDeborah Glynn, from St Helens, Lancashire, cited research by the British Humanist Association to the conference which, she said, showed that there are many schools bringing this wording back into their policies.

"A lot are fundamentalist groups - mainly Christian," she said.

She said she had worked in one academy which had done this, but which had subsequently withdrawn the words after negotiations.

A number of schools cited in the BHA research did withdraw the wording after it was pointed out to them. They said they had severely inherited the words of previous agreements, and not realised until it was pointed out to them what they had done.

"All schools can draw up their own sex education policy but they must ensure they do not discriminate unfairly on grounds of sexual orientation,” a Department of Education spokesman said. “Our sex and relationship education guidance makes it clear that schools should not promote any sexual orientation.”


Texas School Agrees to Rehire Transgender Teacher As Long As She Stays Away From Kids

Laura jane klug

A Lumberton, Texas substitute teacher who was told this month not to return to her classes after parents complained about the fact that she’s transgender has been reassigned to another position outside the classroom.

Lone Star Q reports:

Following a contentious school board meeting on April 10, Klug said Superintendent John Valastro told her she’d been reinstated as  a substitute teacher in the Southeast Texas district. However, last week Klug complained that she hadn’t received any teaching assignments — and Valastro told a local TV station he hadn’t made a decision about her future.

Klug said she met with Valastro on Monday and agreed to accept a temporary, full-time position outside the classroom through the end of the school year.

“I was asked not to say where I was working because we don’t want the media and we don’t want angry parents down there, because it’s near one of the schools,” Klug said. “I said I’m willing to do whatever because I really need a paycheck. It doesn’t make me very happy, but I think it should placate them [the parents] somewhat.”

Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal, told Lone Star Q that not allowing Klug back into the classroom could constitute a prohibited adverse employment action. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex, which includes transgender people.


Teacher Told Not to Return to Texas School After Parents Discover She is Transgender: VIDEO

Klug

Laura Jane Klug, a substitute teacher at the Lumberton Independent School District in Lumberton, Texas, was told not to return to her classes after parents complained about the fact that she is transgender, 12 News reports.

Klug said they suspended her pending a decision by the school board on whether to continue using her as a substitute teacher.

BeardSaid one parent, Roger Beard:

"There's some things that we can accept in society that children are not going to accept the same way that we do...It's a very big distraction...I really don't want them teaching, especially this age group. They can do many things in life but if it affects our little children and their ability to learn and grow naturally I think there's an issue with that."

Klug released a statement: "I have always conducted myself in a professional manner and would never discuss my gender identity in school."

Watch the 12 News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Teacher Told Not to Return to Texas School After Parents Discover She is Transgender: VIDEO" »


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