Horry County Schools responds to controversy following suspensio - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County Schools responds to controversy following suspension of transgender male student

Horry County Schools has released a public statement following a legal organization’s letter over the suspension of a transgender student for allegedly using the bathroom of the gender with which he identifies. (Source: WMBF News) Horry County Schools has released a public statement following a legal organization’s letter over the suspension of a transgender student for allegedly using the bathroom of the gender with which he identifies. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Schools has released a public statement defending its actions following a legal organization’s letter over the suspension of a transgender student for allegedly using the bathroom of the gender with which he identifies.

“Horry County Schools has a legal and professional responsibility to protect the confidentiality of all students,” HCS’s statement begins. “It is regrettable when matters that are personal and protected are vetted publicly. Our limitations to respond to public inquiry on private matters makes the District unable to provide factual information that may add balance and perspective to news coverage or, in some cases, refute misleading information.”

Lambda Legal sent a letter to the district Wednesday, advising them to reverse their decision or run the risk of facing potential legal action.

“Instead of suspending a student using the bathroom between classes, Horry County School District should protect the privacy concerns and respect the gender identity of each student and adopt inclusive, nondiscriminatory policies,” said Beth Littrell, senior attorney at Lambda Legal. “Failure to do so could cut off federal funds and land it in court.”

The district stated that it believes it is complying with federal and state laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which Lambda Legal argued applies to gender identity discrimination, and requires schools to respect a student’s gender identity with respect to sex-segregated restrooms.

The student’s mother said Wednesday she has not seen the letter, but is excited to be making some progress.

“The students at the school have been motivated to start putting up flyers at the school to raise awareness around the issue,” the mother said. “I couldn't be happier about the pressure that is being put on the administration to comply with the law."

Related Stories:

Legal organization sends letter to Horry County Schools following suspension of transgender male student

Transgender male student suspended for using boy's bathroom at Socastee High School

Read the complete statement from HCS below:

PUBLIC STATEMENT

February 18, 2016

Horry County Schools has a legal and professional responsibility to protect the confidentiality of all students.  It is regrettable when matters that are personal and protected are vetted publicly. Our limitations to respond to public inquiry on private matters makes the District unable to provide factual information that may add balance and perspective to news coverage or, in some cases, refute misleading information.

With more than 42,000 students, the District believes its efforts to accommodate the individual needs of transgender students complies with federal and state laws, including Title IX. In addition, the South Carolina Attorney General has filed a brief asserting the rights of school districts to appropriately limit access to school restrooms.

HCS works diligently to uphold the highest expectations for personal respect and privacy for all students, those requiring individualized accommodations as well as those who do not.

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