DOVER, Del. — A proposed regulation that would have allowed Delaware students to self-identify their gender and race without parents’ knowledge, has been abandoned after igniting an intense controversy.
The Delaware Department of Education is now planning to revise the regulation, mandating that transgender students request permission from a parent or guardian before changing their gender identity.
Revised DDOE Regulation 225 also plans to rescind its commitment to equal athletic opportunities provided for students regardless of gender identity and delete initiatives designed to encourage the reporting of discriminatory behavior. Additionally, revised Regulation 225 does not make any attempt to prohibit policies that isolate transgender students, which could make them vulnerable to bullying, critics say.
“I think the proposed changes discriminate against transgender youth,” said Kathleen MacRae, executive director of the ACLU of Delaware. “I think there’s widespread ignorance about people who are transgender.”
MacRae said the regulation will increase the chances that transgender students will face the risks of family rejection and school violence. In a statement, MacRae said that students should not be forced to choose between abuse at home or basic dignity in school.
It is possible that the Carney administration and the DDOE are responding to the pressure they have received about the original proposed policy. More than 11,000 comments were filed about the proposal, many of them critical and citing locker room and bathroom issues.
“You can’t split hairs,” MacRae said, accusing the administration of trying to appease both sides by making revisions to Regulation 225.
The Delaware Department of Education is now seeking public comment on the proposed changes to the regulation. Feedback is encouraged and the comment period in which the public can share their thoughts on the matter will be open until July 6. Comments must be submitted to DOEregulations.firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Tina Shockley, Department of Education, 401 Federal St., Suite 2, Dover, Delaware 19901.
The ACLU said Friday it will wait to see how the public comment period plays out before making a decision on a potential lawsuit.