LINCOLN, Neb - Today the ACLU of Nebraska issued guidance to all Nebraska school districts and the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) about the legal rights of transgender students. Nebraska is one of 15 states that has not developed a policy to support transgender student athletes. The NSAA has recently indicated that they see the need to adopt a policy due to requests from transgender students to participate in athletics.
“The ACLU of Nebraska is proud to stand up for all kids to have a supportive school environment and meaningful access to participation in extracurricular activities,” said ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad. “All kids should have the opportunity to do well in school. Understanding what it means to be transgender is new for many people and it can be confusing, that’s understandable. Many schools are unaware of the issues transgender students face. We provide this guidance to help schools implement policies and practices that will help all students – including transgender students – to be a part of Nebraska’s exemplary public education system.”
The ACLU reports that in recent years, the complaints that they have received from transgender students and their parents have increased. So far issues have been resolved by communicating with the individual school district and without litigation. In August, the ACLU and national partners including the National Education Association released Schools in Transition, a first-of-its-kind publication for school administrations, teachers, and parents about how to provide safe and supportive environments for all transgender students, kindergarten through twelfth grade.
“Kids who are transgender know on a deep level that their gender is different from the sex they were born with,” said Conrad. “The students who have contacted our office just want to be able to go to class, participate in activities like athletics and drama, and graduate. Their parents – like any other loving parents – appreciate the value of education and want their kids to have a fair chance. The guidance issued by the ACLU will help school districts and the NSAA thoughtfully consider these issues, examine best practices developed in our sister states, and to implement policies that give transgender students a chance to succeed.”