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Gov. Carney sees lawsuits not state policy settling transgender discrimination issues in schools

Delaware Public Media

Reports the Trump administration is considering redefining gender as either male or female - raises the issue of protecting transgender rights in Delaware again.

A recent poll from the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication finds three in four people support laws protecting transgender students from discrimination.

But Gov. John Carney appears reluctant to revive the controversy over transgender protections sparked earlier this year in Delaware by Regulation 225. It was developed by the state Department of Education to offer anti-discrimination guidance to schools, then dropped in August.

Carney says proposed versions of Regulation 225 were criticised for reasons surrounding parental consent and separated facilities.

He said there’s been little movement since they abandoned the regulation in August.

“We haven’t really haven’t done anything recently," he said. "We obviously were unsuccessful in getting you know broad support behind the recommendation of the subcommittee.”

Carney added that individual school districts in Delaware were putting in place policies that suit their school boards and administrations. When asked whether he would still pursue a state anti-discrimination policy if the Trump administration decided to redefine sex, Carney did not directly answer the question. Instead, he discussed students bringing lawsuits alleging civil rights violations against school districts, like the lawsuit brought against Boyertown Area School District.   

“Ultimately it seems like this is an issue that as was the case in the Pennsylvania case is going to be resolved, you know, in the courts with respect to the obligations that the individual school districts have to every child,” he said.

A federal appeals court decision in Pennsylvania helped convince Delaware to drop its revised version of Regulation 225, which included the option of allowing school districts to have transgender students use separate facilities. The students at Boyertown complained that their right to privacy was violated by the school district allowing gtransgender students to use facilities corresponding to their gender identity.

But the appeals court affirmed a lower court ruling that transgender students using the bathroom they identify with does not significantly harm other students and having them use separate facilities is a form of discrimination.

Note: The headline has been clarified and additional context has been added to the story.

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