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Arcadia school district settles transgender discrimination case

July 24, 2013|By Stephen Ceasar

The Arcadia Unified School District and the U.S. Department of Education have reached an agreement to end an investigation into allegations of discrimination against a transgender student, officials said Wednesday.

The resolution, which the Arcadia school board passed unanimously Tuesday, closes an investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into whether the district prohibited a student, who was born female but identifies as a male, from accessing boys restrooms and locker rooms because he is transgender.

The student, who has attended Arcadia schools since kindergarten and is now entering ninth grade, has identified as a boy from a young age, according to the agency. He began the transition to living as a male during fifth grade.

In 2011, the Department of Justice received complaints alleging that during the boy’s sixth and seventh grade years, the district did not allow the student to use boys' restrooms and locker rooms.

The complaints also alleged that during a district-sponsored overnight camp, the student was not allowed to stay in a cabin with male students and was instead required to stay in a cabin separate from all his classmates.

Under the agreement, the district will immediately take steps to treat the student like all other male students.

The district will also work with a consultant to create “a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes,” according to a release.

The district will amend its policies to designate gender-based discrimination -- including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status and nonconformity with gender stereotypes -- as a form of discrimination based on sex. Teachers will also undergo training on preventing gender-based discrimination.

District officials declined to comment.

The provision in the agreement related to the student will remain in place until he leaves the district. The other, districtwide provisions will be in place until the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

In a statement, Joscelyn Samuels, the acting assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, commended the district for taking the steps to ensure that the student and others can learn in an nondiscriminatory environment.

“All students, including transgender students, have the right to attend school free from discrimination based on their sex,” Samuels said.

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stephen.ceasar@latimes.com | Twitter: @stephenceasar


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