Feb. 23, 2017
Also Provides Guidance to Superintendents Outlining State’s Anti-Discrimination Laws
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that – in light of an action yesterday by the Trump Administration to roll back federal guidelines that protected transgender students in public schools – he has signed an executive order ensuring that the rights of transgender students receiving an education continue uninterrupted.
“Discrimination, harassment, and bullying have no place in our classrooms or at our schools. Despite the actions taken by the federal government yesterday, the State of Connecticut remains committed to ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality education in a safe, supportive and welcoming school environment,” Governor Malloy said. “Every child, no matter their gender identity or expression, should be treated equally and fairly in a safe, supportive environment. Connecticut will remain a state of inclusiveness because we strongly believe that diversity makes us stronger.”
In 2011, Governor Malloy sponsored and signed into law legislation that incorporated gender identity and expression into the state’s anti-discrimination statutes (Public Act 11-55).
Governor Malloy’s Executive Order No. 56 clarifies that bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools and institutions of higher education are places of public accommodation under existing state anti-discrimination laws. It also directs the State Department of Education (SDE) to develop and present to the State Board of Education guidance to Connecticut school districts on policies that allow students access to school facilities in a manner consistent with a student’s gender identity or expression. Likewise, the Board of Regents and the University of Connecticut, in consultation with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, are directed to develop and present to their respective Board of Trustees policies consistent with Connecticut law that allow students’ access to school facilities in a manner consistent with a student’s gender identity or expression.
“Connecticut will proudly continue to protect civil liberties and the rights of transgender residents,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “President Trump is wrong to open the door to discrimination. His action only serves to destabilize our schools and our communities, causing anxiety among vulnerable youth and emboldening those looking for an excuse to victimize others. Governor Malloy’s executive order reinforces Connecticut’s absolute commitment to equal protection.”
In addition to the executive order, Governor Malloy and SDE Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell today delivered a memo to every public school superintendent in the state, outlining Connecticut’s anti-discrimination laws and explaining that SDE will soon be issuing more formal guidance pertaining to these protections afforded to students and staff members. Pending issuance of further guidance, superintendents are being referred to the May 2016 federal guidance on the matter.
“All students have a right to go to school in a setting that is safe and that supports their learning and personal growth,” State Education Commissioner Wentzell said. “All students deserve to be respected, valued and treated fairly. Connecticut has a history of standing up for the rights of all our children and families and today’s action says that we remain committed to protecting every student, regardless of their gender identity, from discrimination and harassment.”
**Download: Governor Malloy’s Executive Order No. 56
**Download: Memo from Governor Malloy and Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell to superintendents with guidance for school districts regarding transgender students