Today, HRC announced its opposition to troubling recent changes to Delaware’s proposed Regulation 225.
Regulation 225 was initially proposed last year to provide explicit protections for Delaware students based on several characteristics, including gender identity and sexual orientation. After a public comment period late last year, the Delaware Department of Education earlier this month announced changes to the draft that would effectively mandate discrimination against many LGBTQ students, particularly transgender youth.
“If adopted, Regulation 225 would license discrimination against transgender students, violate federal civil rights laws and undermine the health, safety and dignity of kids who deserve our support,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC’s Legal Director. “Requiring the forced outing of transgender students as a precondition to protect their rights is discriminatory and cruel. We implore Governor Carney and his administration to immediately withdraw this draft regulation to ensure that Delaware stands on the right side of both the law and history.”
“Across Delaware, far too many transgender students wake up in the morning fearful of bullying and discrimination during the school day ahead,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride, a Delawarean and board member of Equality Delaware. “The current draft of the regulation fails Delaware’s moral and legal obligation to ensure a safe and quality education for all students, including transgender students. Transgender kids in Delaware are frightened by this regulation and we hope that the Delaware Department of Education and Governor Carney will immediately withdraw this draft to end this nightmare for trans kids in our state.”
“The revisions to Regulation 225 are misguided, dangerous and run the risk of emboldening discrimination and violence against LGBTQ students,” said Mark Purpura, Board Member of Equality Delaware. “These changes were crafted without the input or knowledge of the very team that spent months carefully drafting a comprehensive regulation and run counter to federal civil rights laws and the overwhelming consensus of educational and medical experts. We urge the Delaware Department of Education and Governor Carney to immediately withdraw this draft and to stand up for Delaware’s most vulnerable students.”
Numerous federal courts have held that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination against transgender students. Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Delaware, affirmed in Doe v. Boyertown that federal civil rights laws protect transgender students. That decision is legally binding in all states within the courts’ jurisdiction, including Delaware.
Recently, Equality Delaware and the ACLU of Delaware announced their opposition to the proposed changes to Regulation 225. In addition to requiring the outing of transgender students before a child’s gender identity will be affirmed and their rights enforced, the proposed changes also undermine transgender students’ access to extra-curricular activities consistent with their gender identity and fail to provide model guidance in contravention of the Governor’s original memorandum on the topic.