FAQs Regarding New District Student Facility Access and Accommodations
Wilson School District, as part of its commitment to providing a respectful, caring and supportive environment for all students – free from any form of discrimination or harassment – has recently developed new procedures regarding bathroom access and accommodation for transgender students. The following commonly asked questions (along with answers) pertain to the procedure that is now in effect throughout the District:
What does it mean to be transgender, and what does cisgender mean when used to discuss issues of access and accommodation of school facilities?
A: “Transgender” describes students whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned at birth. The designation of ‘transgender’ is made by the individual and is respected by the District. “Cisgender” refers to a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex assigned to them at birth.
Why is this now being addressed in the Wilson School District?
A: A Wilson transgender high school student and that student’s parents raised the issue to discuss how we could provide reasonable accommodation to the transgender student. The District has assured the student and family that it is committed to ensuring all students have equal access to educational programs and activities.
How long has Wilson been addressing the requests of transgender students?
A: We have been working with transgender students and their families for many years to provide a safe environment for their education.
Who reviewed and authorized access?
A: In consultation with our legal counsel and administration, the Board of Directors requested development and implementation of the new procedure.
Why do transgender students need their own bathrooms?
A: Transgender students are entitled to have access to facilities that correspond to their gender identity. These may be gender-designated or gender-neutral, which afford privacy to the user.
May parents/guardians request to be notified about the existence and identity of transgender students at a school?
A: A student’s gender identity, like most student-specific information (such as religious affiliation), is a personal and private matter that is protected under law. However, the transgender student may decide to disclose it and the district would then work with them in a respectful and supportive fashion.
Doesn’t the District have a non-discrimination policy that already applies to all students?
A: Yes, the District has a general policy, but the new procedures are specific to transgender individuals.
Does the District Solicitor agree with the actions being taken? And what would happen if the District did nothing and just maintained the status quo?
A: The Solicitor, whose firm has extensive experience dealing with similar matters in other Pennsylvania school districts, is involved in the legal review of all proposed procedures to ensure fairness and compliance.