National School Board Association Issues Guidance on Protections For LGBTQ Employees and Students

This summer the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids an employer from discriminating against an employee because that person is gay or transgender.  The decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, applies to public school employees and has led to questions about how it may impact students.  To answer some of those questions, the National School Boards Association has issued a new guidance document titled “Protections for LGBTQ Employees and Students after Bostock v. Clayton County.

The NSBA guidance recognizes that, while the Bostock decision did not address discrimination against LGBTQ students, it “will affect decisions in cases about student rights.”  While Title VII is a federal statute that addresses employee discrimination, federal courts use Title VII case law to interpret Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs receiving federal money.  In fact, the NSBA observes that courts have already used the Bostock ruling in cases alleging discrimination against LGBTQ students.

Some questions the guidance document addresses include:

  • Whether courts have ruled that school districts have a duty to protect students from bullying and harassment based on LGBTQ status?
  • Whether courts have ruled that school districts must allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room facilities of their gender identity?
  • What policies and practices should schools develop to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination, including harassment and bullying?
  • Do any laws prohibit school districts from discriminating against LGBTQ students in extracurricular activities?
  • Are there any laws that specifically address participation by transgender girls who want to participate on girls’ sports teams?
  • What should schools take into consideration as they develop policies and procedures that address the issue of transgender athletics?

We encourage school administrators and board members to review this guidance document and consider the implications of the Bostock case on local policy.  The guidance document can be found HERE.

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