California school fails transgender students
April 05, 2004
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California — A school board in conservative Orange County refused to
implement a state policy that protects transgender students, saying
the measure is immoral and promotes transsexuality.
The Westminster district's five-member board voted 3-2 Thursday
to reject the anti-discrimination policy during a meeting that drew
hundreds of parents and teachers.
Westminster is the only one of California's 1,425 school
districts to refuse to endorse the 1999 state law that gives boys
who consider themselves girls and girls who regard themselves as
boys the right to pursue discrimination complaints.
Donna Scott, a parent, said the board should obey the law.
"How dare you use my child as a human shield for your
discrimination, your fear, your hatred," she said.
Board members Judy Ahrens, Blossie Marquez-Woodcock and Helena
Rutkowski argue that adopting the state's definition of gender
would be immoral and promote transsexuality.
Jack O'Connell, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction,
sent a letter to the district asking the three members to change
"If you refuse, I will take all available steps to compel your
compliance," O'Connell wrote. "Do not victimize the very people you
claim you are serving."
The district, about 35 miles ( 56 kilometers) southeast of Los
Angeles, serves 10,000 elementary and middle school students. More
than $40 million of its $68 million budget comes from state and
The state Department of Education has threatened to pull
millions of dollars if the district is not in compliance with state
law by April 12.
That money could be cut off if the district is not in compliance
with state law by April 12.
Other school boards in Orange County have in recent years moved
to ban a high school's gay-straight alliance club and tried to sue
Mexico to recoup the cost of educating immigrant children. – Sapa-AP
Gay high school draws criticism from conservatives and civil libertarians [26/08/2003]