SALEM, Ore. — In response to indications from the Trump administration that the federal government could redefine the concepts of sex and gender in a manner that would further disenfranchise transgender students, education officials from Oregon, Washington and California have banded together to issue a strongly-worded letter.
Led by Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Director Colt Gill, top education administrators from the West Coast states penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“We believe these changes will be dangerous and detrimental for the millions of individuals in our country who identify as transgender, many of whom are school age, and are our students and part of our school communities,” the letter states.
ODE says that the state has taken steps to create a "safe, inclusive environment for students and other constituents." Through new guidelines and other initiatives, state educators say that they have worked hard to develop policies that accept transgender and gender non-conforming students — trying to provide a successful example for other states to follow.
“It is our responsibility to create caring school environments that are safe and welcoming for all students,” Gill said. “Denying a person’s gender identity or forcing conformity to this federal rule change is disrespectful, discriminatory, and harmful. Each of our children deserve more. They deserve schools that accept, respect, and serve them well.”