SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — A new law that spells out the rights of transgender students in kindergarten through 12th grade is set to take effect in California on Jan. 1. To get ready, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for staff and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.
Some, like Oakland Unified School District, have already adopted a similar policy, that according to district spokesman Troy Flint.
“The law that Governor Jerry Brown signed into being earlier this year was modeled largely after policies that were already in place here in Oakland,” Flint said. “There have been a number of forward-thinking school districts that took action and didn’t wait for the state. So we’re in a good position as we’ve already been doing this for a year.”
Flint said the rules are working well, but admits some parents have expressed concerns about how their children might be affected by mingling with transgender students.
West Contra Costa school board President Charles Ramsey said his school district welcomes the new rules, especially after a fight between three girls and a transgender student at Hercules High School in November.
“We’re going to have a big conversation on this in January. We’ll discuss it and we’ll be bringing it back, looking at new administrative regulations, updating it with the current laws and statutes, and then voting on that on January 29 to bring those in and do some training,” Ramsey said.
But educators also are watching and waiting. The first-of-its-kind statute could end up suspended within days of its launch if a referendum to repeal it qualifies for the November ballot.
To obtain a public vote on the law, a coalition of conservative groups has collected hundreds of thousands of signatures. Counties have until Jan. 8 to verify them through spot-checking.
The secretary of state can approve the referendum, determine that it failed or order a review of every signature.
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