Delaware Public Media

Thousands comment on controversial school anti-discrimination regulation proposal

Dec 5, 2017

Public comment on controversial new state anti-discrimination regulations for Delaware public schools is closed – at least for now.

The state Department of Education says the comment period for Regulation 225 ended Monday with over 11,000 comments submitted.

Gov. John Carney (D-Delaware) asked DOE in July to craft a policy for schools to follow to help avoid discrimination based on protected characteristics - such as gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The draft regulations have drawn criticism from some parents across the state and Republicans, especially in Sussex County.  Those concerns have largely centered over how the proposed regulation addresses “gender identity or expression,” including use of a preferred name rather than a student’s legal name, participation on sports teams, and bathroom and locker room access.

The proposed regulations do allow schools to ask permission from parents or legal guardians before accepting a name change, but call for them to assess if they are aware and supportive of the student’s self-identification before doing so.

The development committee that created the proposed regulations will meet in January to consider making changes based on public comment. The Dept. of Education says if  substantive changes are made, the regulation will be reposted with another 30-day public comment period before DOE makes a final decision.

All public comments received are available online for public review before the January development committee meeting.