Throughout the nation there are three words that are continued to be spoken about on the news, on the internet, and even in a conversation amongst peers. These three words are school, transgender, and bathroom. These three words are under heavy discussion after the Obama administration made some new guidelines that are hard to swallow by some and celebrated by others. The new rules oblige schools to permit transgender students to utilize the restroom and locker rooms that relate to their picked gender.
Perhaps some school officials and parents fear this new policy because they do not understand the impact that it will have on current students. Parents and other school officials are able to peek into a world where this policy is already taking place. Schools in the Santa Rosa school district located in California already permit transgender to utilize the locker rooms and bathrooms that coincide with the gender that the student identifies with. This change is school policy has been activated since 2013.
School officials have admitted that many individuals and groups opposed the right that gave transgendered students the ability to choose the facilities that best fitted their gender identity. Parents, religious and conservative groups gave much push-back to the new policies.
These policies not only provide transgender students with certain rights, but it also allows students to feel comfortable while receiving an education. According to Andrew Cochrane, a teacher at Petaluma High School located in California, all students should feel comfortable while at school. Being comfortable at school can help students to maximize their full potential. Cochrane also adds that when the full potential of a student is met, everyone is able to benefit from it.
The policies not only affected bathrooms guidelines for grades k – 12, it also affected universities and college. Currently, Santa Rosa Junior College has created gender neutral bathrooms in about half of its academic and administrative buildings. These particular accommodations are used to help decrease the amount of harassment and bullying that transgender studies face while at school. In order to reduce the amount of harassment received from fellow students some transgendered student has gone as far as avoiding bathrooms the whole time that they are at school.
In addition to creating gender neutral facilities and allowing student to pick the bathroom that fits their gender identity, schools in Santa Rosa allow students to choose the name they would like to go by. For example, if a transgender student name is Billy but she identifies as a female and would like to be called Jenny, then she would be able to confidently do this at many of the schools in Santa Rosa. Not only are student able to choose the name that they are called while in the classroom, schools such as Santa Rosa High School and Sonoma State University allow students to replace their birth names with their preferred name on his or her school records.
If schools across the nation fail to abide by the policies that have been signed into existence by the Obama administration then they could be at risk of losing federal funds. Though some people may be afraid of the new policies, these policies provide a platform to discuss the transgender population. Perhaps with more discussion people will be able to see that the transgendered community is a part of our society and aren’t going to disappear.