GRAYSON VALLEY – The superintendent of the second-largest school system in Alabama said his school system would follow the law when it comes to policies concerning transgender and non-binary issues. He also said changes were necessary after Title IX expansion.
For over a year, President Joe Biden and his administration have been pushing for the inclusion and acceptance of LGBTQ students in schools. The administration wants biological boys who identify as girls to have the same rights and protection as girls.
The Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Supportive Schools has stated it will offer training for school leaders to learn how to address issues some students face when questioning or struggling with their gender identity. Biden’s Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine encouraged students to seek out puberty blockers and other transgender treatments in their state, including sex-reassignment surgeries, even if their state prohibits those treatments.
Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin told 1819 News his stance on those issues was to simply follow the law. He gave an example concerning the push for gender-neutral restrooms and locker rooms in schools nationwide.
“One thing I want you to know is that I’m a law-abiding citizen, alright?” said Gonsoulin. “And so, right now, in the state of Alabama, the state of Alabama says that you recognize people by their birth certificate. So, as it relates to the bathrooms, all the boys go to the boys’ bathroom, and the girls go to the girls’ bathroom. In Jefferson County, we plan to follow the law.”
While taking questions at the Clay-Pinson Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday, Gonsoulin also confirmed the school board was planning to hire a new Title IX compliance officer due to an increased number of complaints after changes by the Biden administration.
“The federal government has come up with new Title IX regulations,” said Gonsoulin. “Which, that is a very convoluted and cumbersome topic and area. That means that someone could – they’ve expanded the definition of it – and so, for example, someone could have a claim, whether it’s sexual discrimination or whether it’s sexual harassment or whatever, and then we as a school district have to have a process in place that we investigate that thoroughly.”
Title IX states, in part, that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Gonsoulin was referring to a proposed expansion of Title IX by the Biden administration that would “protect LGBTQI+ students from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.”
Gonsoulin said in the past that Title IX complaints were easily taken care of right away. But with the new regulations, it could take up to eight weeks to process one case.
Gonsoulin said the school system could have as many as 25 cases at any given time.
“If you have several of those coming in, it creates a backlog,” said Gonsoulin. “And so, that’s why the board, at our last committee meeting, decided that we needed to hire someone specifically to address those issues.”
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