Today, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance clarifying that the federal Title IX law prohibits discrimination against transgender students, as reported by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). This guidance, issued from the Department's Office for Civil Rights, is part of a larger document on the responsibilities of schools to prevent and respond to sexual violence against any student.
Recent research indicates that 80% of transgender students feel unsafe at school because of who they are [GLSEN 2012]. While the guidance does not address specific forms of discrimination against transgender students, recent actions by the Departments of Justice and Education make clear that schools must provide equal access to all school facilities and programs consistent with a student's gender identity. A 2013 federal settlement with the Arcadia, California school district, on behalf of a transgender boy excluded from school restrooms and field trip accommodations, requires school officials to treat the student as male for all purposes. Earlier this month, the Department of Justice issued guidance stating the nondiscrimination based on gender identity requires domestic violence shelters and other grantees under the Violence Against Women ACT (VAWA) to provide equal access consistent with a person's gender identity.