Westminster school board within law by refusing to protect transgendered students
April 21 2004 12:00 AM ET
The head of the California Department of Education reluctantly determined Monday that a school district's policy regarding discrimination based on "perceived gender" is technically legal, but he issued a stern warning to three antigay trustees who tried to bypass state-mandated protections for transgendered students.
The decision spares the Westminster School District from losing a large portion of its state funding. A majority on the school board had refused to adopt the state's version of an antidiscrimination policy intended to protect transgendered students, claiming that extending protections to such a group was immoral.
In a letter to the district's board president, superintendent Jack O'Connell said he's concerned that the district's policy indicates an unwillingness to accept the state's mandate. "In fact it appears the district may intend to deny protection from discrimination and harassment to a class of students that the law clearly protects," O'Connell wrote.
Officials had warned that the district could lose up to $10 million in funding if it was found to be out of compliance with state law. The Westminster district serves 10,000 students in Orange County.