The state of Delaware has backtracked on a controversial regulation which would have allowed students in its schools to “self-identify” as the gender and/or race of their choice.
Regulation 225 had stated that “a school may request permission from the parent or legal guardian of a minor student before a self-identified gender or race is accepted.” However, The News Journal is reporting people on both sides of the issue are indicating this provision “has essentially been gutted.”
The regulation’s revised wording:
A school shall request permission from the parent or legal guardian before accommodating a request by a minor student that the school take action to recognize a change in any Protected Characteristic. Prior to requesting such permission, to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of the student, the school shall discuss with the student the permission process and, based on its discussions with the student, assess the degree to which the parent or legal guardian is aware of the change to the Protected Characteristic. If the student does not permit the school to request permission from the parent or legal guardian, then the request to take action shall not be accepted.
During the public input timeframe, over 11,000 comments were submitted “from across the country,” with in-state remarks outnumbering those from out-of-state despite Delaware’s diminutive size. The majority opposed the (now-old) regulation wording.
Unsurprisingly, The News Journal’s Jessica Bies writes that “alt-right” outlets like Breitbart.com had “seized on the most controversial” portions of the regulation … as if there was no legitimate reason for people to be concerned.
Jim Bianchetta, president of LGBTQ support group PFLAG, expressed worry that school may be the only outlet for transgender students to be themselves. Without it, they “may be more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as attempted suicide, drug or alcohol abuse and smoking.”
ACLU Executive Director Kathleen MacRae added that the revised regulation “increases the odds that both of these negative impacts [risk of violence in schools and family rejection] will harm more Delaware youth.”
Delaware Education Secretary Susan Bunting said there will be another public comment period, this time on the revised regulation, until July 6.