• Fairfield Area School District
    Board Statement
    September 26, 2022

    We understand there are some concerns about the District’s implementation of federally mandated protection for transgender students.  We would like to take this opportunity to briefly explain the District’s approach to this important issue.
    Transgender students are protected from discrimination under Policy 103 and Title IX because the protected class of “sex” includes gender identity as well as biological gender.  Again, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.  Federal courts in Pennsylvania as well as the United States Supreme Court have already ruled on these issues.

    Gender identity is a protected class just like race, religion and national origin. Gender identity is a protected class on the same legal footing as all other protected classes under the civil rights laws.

    Title IX is enforced by the federal Office for Civil Rights.  As a public school district which accepts federal funds, we must comply with the Office for Civil Rights.  The Office for Civil Rights has the authority to impose legal sanctions against the District and withhold federal funding.

    There is a required process in place for any transgender student who wishes to request certain accommodations.  Before any transgender student could be entitled to accommodations, they must first meet with their counselor, appropriate school staff, and parents.  The student’s requests would be thoroughly vetted and reviewed by the Administration.  This takes time.  The District must first be satisfied that the student meets current legal standards to be eligible for accommodations on the basis of gender identity.

    Students are expected to use the restroom facilities that align with their gender and gender identity.  If a student attempts to use a different restroom without first following this process, the student will face disciplinary consequences.  Despite what you might hear, students cannot simply switch restrooms unannounced. To the extent other students are uncomfortable sharing facilities with a transgender student, the District will work with those students to explore reasonable privacy accommodations or alternatives.

    The Shared Values of the Fairfield Area School District, found on our website, include the following beliefs:

                We believe each student and her/his needs are unique.
                We believe in an environment which promotes positive self-esteem and a sense of belonging.
                We believe each student should be respectful, caring, responsible, and self-disciplined.

    To that end, the School Board has adopted Policy 103, Nondiscrimination in School and Classroom Practices.  Policy 103 states as follows:

    “The Board declares it to be the policy of this district to provide an equal opportunity for all students to achieve their maximum potential through the programs offered in the schools without discrimination on the basis of race, color, age, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, marital status, pregnancy or handicap/disability.”

    Consistent with the District’s Mission and Vision, it is important that ALL students feel safe and comfortable in school.  All means all.

    The District will continue to comply with legal obligations while at the same time maintaining a nurturing environment that promotes tolerance and acceptance.