Pittsburgh Public Schools Considers Expanding Rights For Transgender Students

Apr 15, 2016

Pittsburgh Public Schools is considering following in the footsteps of Brashear High School, which has transgender student-specific protections.
Credit xMizLitx / Flickr

For attorney Aimee Zundel, Pittsburgh Public Schools' student policies need to serve the needs of all students.

"Particularly our at-risk populations and students that are more susceptible to not feeling safe within the school for example,” Zundel said. 

Zundel is working with the district, and its policy committee, to craft a plan to outline specific rights for transgender students. 

Pittsburgh Public Schools has had a non-discrimination policy for years -- one that goes beyond federal protections of race and sex, and includes gender identity and gender expression.

Now, the district wants to go even further. A newly proposed policy mirrors that of Brashear High School, which explicitly protects the rights of transgender students.

“It protects the confidentiality of transgender students," Zundel said. "The proposal dictates that use of restrooms, and sex specific facilities such as locker rooms, and overnight field trips will be consistent with a gender identity.”

That means students who identify as female won't be forced to use the men's restroom, for example.

The proposal also outlines a staff training plan to help support students.  

The plan is expected to be released online Friday. The district is inviting public feedback online and at a public board meeting in May.