CUSD works with all students, parents to provide safe and supportive experience at school
May 2016: President Obama’s recent directive to public schools across the nation to allow students to use the restroom or locker room of their gender identity has generated a lot of conversation around the nation. Following are some answers to questions that parents may have about this recent Presidential Directive, existing California laws, and how Clovis Unified is implementing the law in our schools while creating a supportive environment for all students.
Q. What impact does President Obama’s May 13 directive to the nation’s public schools have on Clovis Unified?
A. The President’s recent directive does not have any new impact on public schools in California. The State of California was the first state in the nation to implement a law that gives transgender students certain rights, which includes their right to use school bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender with which they identity. This California law was signed by the Governor of the State of California in August 2013 and went into effect January 1, 2014. This law pre-dates the President’s directive on the subject.
Q. What precipitated changes in California public school policies related to use of restrooms and locker rooms?
A. In 2013, California’s Governor signed into law AB1266, which provides that “[a] pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.” As a result, California public schools are required to allow transgender students to use the restrooms and bathrooms of the gender to which they identify. Because this is a state law, all school districts in California must comply with the law. Parents can be assured that Clovis Unified is navigating the myriad of issues this 2013 law presents to every school district in the state carefully and with the best interest of each one of our students in mind.
Q. What options are available for parents who do not want their student to use multi-stall school bathrooms or open locker rooms?
A. In addition to existing options for students such as using individual bathroom stalls or single-stall bathrooms on campus, Clovis Unified is adding additional privacy stalls in intermediate and high school locker rooms. The construction of new privacy stalls resulted from conversations with parents and community groups who, over time, have requested additional privacy options to respect the modesty of all students on campus.
If a parent does not want his or her child to use the multi-stall bathrooms available for student use, he or she is encouraged to contact school administration to discuss alternatives available for all students.
Q. Can a student of any biological gender use whatever bathroom or locker room they choose on any given day?
A. No. Students are expected to use the restroom or locker room that matches their biological gender unless they are a transgender student who has met with school administration about using the bathroom or locker room of their gender expression as allowed for by law. A process is in place through which we work closely with individual transgender students to identify an environment in which they are comfortable. Often, what our students feel comfortable with is a private bathroom or changing area such as the nurse’s office or single-person bathrooms, or a supervised, secluded section of a locker room or changing area. We have found that transgender students in the District have been equally desiring of privacy and confidentiality as every other student on our campuses. In every instance that we have experienced to this point, we have found mutually satisfactory solutions that respect the privacy of both our non-transgender and transgender students.
Q. Can I opt my student out of secondary physical education?
A. To meet graduation requirements, Clovis Unified requires students to participate in physical education classes throughout grades 7-12. Additionally, the state requires that all students participate in certain physical education curriculum (such as swimming) at certain points in their educational career. While students cannot opt out of physical education for non-medical reasons, parents can speak with school site administration to request alternative changing facilities for their child.
Q. Are students required to use locker room showers after secondary (grades 7-12) physical education classes?
A. No. Students in Clovis Unified are not required to shower following physical education classes.
If you have other questions about this topic, please contact your child’s school principal or the District Office.