Parental input urged regarding state’s proposed anti-discrimination regulations

SUSSEX COUNTY – State Representative Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, is urging parents to make their opinions known about a controversial proposed anti-discrimination policy and related regulations that are expected to be implemented by Delaware’s public schools.

According to Department of Education Secretary Dr. Susan Bunting, the proposed “225 Prohibition of Discrimination” regulation is now available for formal comment in the November Register of Regulations.

Public comments will be accepted until Dec. 4.

Rep. Ruth Briggs King

“I am hopeful that as many parents and guardians as possible will participate in offering their thoughts and opinions on these proposed regulations.,” Rep. Briggs King said. “Only one community meeting was held in Sussex County and I imagine more people have questions and concerns about these policy changes than actually were represented at the meeting.  Parents are encouraged to make their voices heard.  Please participate and send in your comments before Dec. 4.”

The proposed DOE policy and regulations come as the result of a memorandum issued by Delaware Governor John Carney in July.

In the memo, Gov. Carney stated that “it is critical that all schools in Delaware be welcoming, inclusive places where students and staff members alike can flourish.  Every student should be able to learn, achieve, and grow without unlawful discrimination based on their appearance, gender, race and/or ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other protected characteristic.”

The governor then directed DOE to begin creating the policy that traditional and charter public schools would follow “when addressing potential discrimination in Delaware schools.”

The draft regulations include “gender identity or expression” among its protected characteristics.  Among the more controversial aspects of the proposed rules are the following:

  • All students enrolled in a Delaware public school would be able to self-identify gender or race. (Rule 7.4)
  • A student would have the opportunity to participate on the sports team that is consistent with the student’s gender identity, regardless of the student’s assigned sex at birth. (6.4)
  • A student would have the opportunity to participate in the program of instruction dealing with human sexuality that is consistent with the student’s gender identity, regardless of the student’s assigned sex at birth. (3.4)
  • Regarding physical education programs – goals, objectives and skill development standards could not be designated on the basis of gender. (5.2)
  • School districts and charter schools would be required to work with students and families on providing access to locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond to students’ “gender identity or expression.” (8.1)
  • Even if a student does not legally change his or her name, he or she can select a “preferred name” based on a “protected characteristic” that school officials would be obligated to use except on official records. (7.3)

To access the proposed regulations, visit this website: http://regulations.delaware.gov/register/november2017/index.shtml and click on “225 Prohibition of Discrimination.”

Comments will be accepted for a 30-day period through Dec. 4, 2017.

An Anti-Discrimination Development Team, made up of parents, students, local board members, superintendents, school administrators and advocates, worked to craft the proposed policy and regulations.

Comments

Public comments can be mailed to: Delaware Department of Education, RE: 225 Prohibition of Discrimination, Townsend Building, 401 Federal Street, Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901.

Comments can also be sent by email to this address: DOERegulations.comment@doe.k12.de.us.

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