August 2, 2018 at 9:37 pm EDT | by Blake Chambers
Delaware abandons proposed anti-trans student regulation

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“We heard and understand concerns that have been raised by the LGBTQ community,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney. (Photo by Mauricio Campino/Public Domain)

Earlier today, the Delaware Department of Education announced that it will not move forward to finalize the current version of Regulation 225. More than 6,000 comments were made by the public in response to the anti-discrimination regulation.

The current version of the regulation said that transgender students in Delaware would be required to ask permission from a parent or guardian before changing their gender identity in school. The original proposal for the regulation would have allowed students to self-identify their gender and race in school without their parents’ knowledge.

The current proposal for the regulation received backlash from organizations throughout Delaware, including Equality Delaware, CAMP Rehoboth and the ACLU-DE. One of the main reasons for the backlash was the potential for outing students in unsupportive homes. Kathleen MacRae of the ACLU-DE said, “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.”

“Recent court decisions have raised important legal questions regarding this issue, and the significant public comments make clear we still haven’t struck the right balance,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting in the statement. “For those reasons, we’re not going to finalize the current proposed version of the regulation.”

Gov. John Carney also released a statement today on the current version of Regulation 225.

“Throughout the process of creating this regulation, I carefully listened to the feedback of Delawareans. Secretary Bunting did the same,” said Carney in his statement. “We heard concerns from parents who wanted to ensure they had a say in the decisions schools make regarding their children. We attempted to address those concerns. On the other hand, we heard and understand concerns that have been raised by the LGBTQ community. They are working to protect some of our state’s most vulnerable children.”

Carney said that in light of the recent Boyertown decision by the Third Circuit, along with the comments received from across the state, the administration is now considering its next steps for Regulation 225. Carney said he was looking forward to continued discussion with Delawareans, members of the General Assembly and Delaware families on how to make progress and move forward with the regulation.

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