Statement on Equal Opportunity at SCOE
The Sonoma County Board of Education (BOE) maintains policies that support the rights of all SCOE students. The board oversees educational programs run by the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), including hundreds of special education and alternative education students.
SCOE Board Policy 0410 outlines SCOE’s commitment to providing equal opportunity for all individuals in education. Specifically, it states:
“The Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools is committed to providing equal opportunity for all individuals in education. Sonoma County Office of Education programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital, pregnancy, or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or genetic information; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.”
The statement comes at a time when students and their families have expressed concern over changes to federal protections for transgender students.
Joint action by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to revoke federal guidelines adopted by the Obama administration in May 2016 to protect the rights of transgender students at schools by allowing them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has also re-stated his strong support for the rights of transgender students and reminded all Californians that state law requires public schools to allow students access to the restroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.
In 2013, California became the first state in the nation to enshrine certain rights for transgender K–12 students in state law, including the right to choose the bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.
Torlakson said action announced by the White House does not roll back protections for California students and educators. Governor Brown signed AB 1266 in 2013 and created protections for transgender students. The California Department of Education has Frequently Asked Questions at this web link.