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A.G. Press Release: Attorney General Schneiderman and State Education Commissioner Elia Issue Reminder that NYS Protects Transgender Students

NYS-attorney-generalAttorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia today vehemently objected to the decision yesterday by President Trump and the federal Departments of Education and Justice to rescind guidance that clarified federal legal protections for transgender students. The attorney general and commissioner reminded school districts across New York State that – irrespective of the federal government’s decision – they have independent duties under state and local law to protect transgender students from discrimination and harassment in their schools and at all school functions.

“The Trump Administration’s decision to rescind this guidance sends a dangerous and divisive message and threatens some of our most vulnerable young people,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “But in New York State, the law remains the law — and school districts have independent duties to protect transgender students from discrimination and harassment when they go to school.  My office will use all the existing tools of federal, state, and local law to ensure that transgender kids are safe in their schools and are provided equal access to all programming and facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

Our most sacred duty as parents, educators, and leaders of state agencies is to protect all of the children in our care,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “Transgender youth are valued members of our schools and communities across New York State, yet statistics show that more than half of them will attempt suicide at least once by their 20th birthday.  So we must do everything in our power to create learning environments that are safe and welcoming for all. The guidance we have developed with Attorney General Schneiderman and our partners underscores the value we place on respecting all students and indeed all people.”

Read the full press release here.