ACLU criticizes Jenison schools for transgender bathroom policy

Apr 12, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union is objecting to a Michigan school district's restroom policy for transgender students.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that transgender students in the Jenison district must use a gender-neutral restroom, staff restrooms or restrooms that match their gender assigned at birth.

Various social media posts have accused Jenison of banning transgender students from restrooms that match their gender identity.

Superintendent Tom TenBrink disputes the claims, saying the Ottawa County district is not discriminating against transgender students and treats all students with "sensitivity and dignity." 

But the ACLU of Michigan has written a letter in protest. The group says the policy stigmatizes transgender students.

Attorney Miriam Aukerman says a transgender boy should be able to use a restroom for boys. She says the same should apply to transgender girls.

The current State Board of Education guidelines specify that although schools may choose to provide gender-neutral bathrooms for transgender and gender non-conforming students, federal civil rights laws currently protect those students' rights to use facilities that match their gender identity.