The public comment period for Delaware’s controversial Regulation 225 will end on July 6. Regulation 225 would mandate that transgender students in Delaware request permission from a parent or guardian before changing their gender identity in school. Originally, the regulation would have allowed Delaware students to self-identify their gender and race without parents’ knowledge.
Organizations throughout Delaware, including the ACLU-DE, Equality Delaware and CAMP Rehoboth have come out in opposition to the current proposal.
Kathleen MacRae of the ACLU-DE said that the proposed regulation would increase the odds that more transgender students will face violence in schools and family rejection. She also said that, “students should not be forced to choose between abuse at home or basic dignity at school — such as being called by appropriate gender pronouns or being able to use facilities that match who they are — simply because of widespread ignorance about and bigotry against transgender people.”
In a statement from CAMP Rehoboth, Murray Archibald said the organization opposes the proposal because it would result in the outing of students in unsupportive homes. Other reasons Archibald gave for opposition to the regulation were that the requirement for students to participate in sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity is rescinded, and that the regulation eliminates “the creation of a model policy meant to guide schools in shaping their own policies.”
“If this regulation is implemented as written, we will do everything in our power to overturn it,” said Mark Purpura of Equality Delaware.
Purpura stated that he would file a lawsuit and argue that the regulation would be in violation of Title IX. Title IX prohibits discrimination in education based on sex, and under President Obama, the policy required that schools treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.
Title IX was key in the Boyertown case, which upheld the policy of a Berks County school in Pennsylvania to allow transgender students to use the bathroom in accordance with their gender identity. Title IX was one of the main arguments used by those looking to do away with the policy.
However, the judges on the federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that the policy does not violate Title IX. Judge Patty Schwartz stated in the ruling that everyone is being treated the same under the school’s policy, so she did not understand how there was a Title IX claim.
Purpura said that because of the Boyertown decision, it would be sufficient if the regulation simply included gender identity and expression as a protected class and that the DOE could strip out all the specific provisions relating to gender identity, such as preferred names, and bathroom and locker room access. Purpura wants the DOE to issue guidance specifically addressing those issues based on the Boyertown decision.
The Delaware Department of Education has been taking public comment by email and by mail to Tina Shockley, Department of Education, 401 Federal St., Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901.