Over the years, diversity has taken center stage in schools and general culture. Now, more than ever, people have the opportunity and freedom to live as they want according to their true selves.
Education is not only a key factor to understanding how the world works but is also a means to help usher inequality among citizens. Yes, cases of bullying and discrimination are still quite rampant especially to transgender students, but there are significantly more recourses today than in the past.
Sadly, many people are not aware of the rights of transgender students. It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that the protections for transgender students are considered a priority in every learning institution.
In the United States, Title IX is one of the laws that provide certain protections to transgender students, as described by Duffy Law.
It’s quite unfortunate that at times the rights of these students are not respected thus one may wonder what to do after a violation of their rights in school?
A student can file a complaint to the department of education.
Here are the procedural steps to be followed:
• The aggrieved party should file a complaint as soon as possible or within 180 days after the incident occurs. In case, they are unable to meet the deadline they should have a valid reason for the delay.
• As the complainant fills the complaint form they should describe their discrimination as sexual discrimination.
• The complaint form should be filled since incomplete forms will not be investigated. It is also important for the complainant to leave their contact details for it to be easier for them to be contacted.
• It is also quite crucial for the complainant to give all the details regarding the discrimination. It would also be of great help if they could give the details of the people who may have witnessed it. This would strengthen the complainant’s case.
• It should be noted that the details of the complaint will be kept private unless the complainant wishes to make it public. This will ensure that the mental peace of the complainant is protected throughout the case.
• At times the complainant may be too traumatized to file a complaint thus trusted family members, friends, school staff or others could file the complaint on behalf of them. This will protect the victim from the horror of having to relive their worst moments when they are not ready to do so.
• Fear is a natural human feeling however, it should be noted that the complainant should not be treated differently by the school just because they have decided to file complaints. Those who also choose to participate in the complaint either by giving a statement or filing a complaint on behalf of someone should also be treated normally.
With strict adherence to the above steps, one should be able to file a complaint and a way forward provided for them.
Other than filing a complaint with the federal government, one could also do so with the state education department or human rights agency. There many state laws that have been put in place for the protection of the transgender community especially students.
Human beings are built to care for one another. It is therefore expected of them that they will ensure the rights of each other are protected regardless of their diverse personality.
Taking care of one another will help to make the world a great place.
Below are several key rights that should be pursued for all transgender students
1. The right to express yourself as you want
These students should be allowed to be who they are when in education facilities.
2. The right against prejudice and intimidation
Safeguarding against discrimination and harassment from other students and other members of staff is critical to ensure the welfare of these students.
3. Privacy when it comes to gender identity
No student should be forced to put their gender identity out there. The school should also ensure that this information is not outed without the student’s consent.
Regardless of the gender identity the student chooses, due respect should be accorded to the students.
Transgender students should have the opportunity to use the restrooms that they are most comfortable in. This may be a private washroom or one that aligns with your gender identity.
Learning institutions should allow these students to participate in any sporting activity that they would like. They should participate in PE and class activities that are consistent with their gender identity.
7. Formal attire and uniform policies
When it comes to the students’ apparel, they should have a right to dress as they please so long as it is in line with the rules of the educational facility. Similarly, the students should be allowed to wear a uniform that is in line with their gender identity. This is to ensure that these students are completely comfortable as they interact with other students.
Apart from creating awareness on the rights of transgender students, the school could also protect them by doing the following:
- Policies- the learning institutions could also adopt policies against harassment and prejudice of transgender students.
- Addressing them by their preferred names and pronouns- allows for the students to feel accepted hence safe in that school environment.
- Providing them with representation- can be done in sporting activities, leadership positions, and other extracurricular activities. This allows these students to feel like they have a voice in learning institutions.
- School records- if a student would wish to be addressed in a certain way then the school records should also show the same identity.
- Privacy- this is important for both transgender students and other students. This will ensure that both parties have a safe space and are comfortable in that educational facility.
Every human being would like their rights to be respected. It should, therefore, not be any different for transgender students.
Some organizations have taken it upon themselves to ensure that these rights have been respected. Transgender students are therefore advised to join such organizations to be sure that they are always safe and have someone to look after their rights and defend them.