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RI Department of Education Reaffirms Policy on Protections for Transgender Students

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Ken Wagner released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind federal protections that allowed transgender students to use school bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity:

“Yesterday, the federal government rescinded guidance that was previously issued regarding transgender and gender nonconforming students. The rescinding of this federal guidance does not change our policy – there is no room for discrimination in our schools, and we will continue to protect all students, including transgender and gender nonconforming students, from any type of bias. Rhode Island has a strong history of encouraging safe and supportive learning environments, and we intend to continue that practice. It is imperative that all education professionals continue to be strong role models and advocates for the safety and well-being of the children entrusted to their care.”

As a result, it will continue to be the Rhode Island Department of Education’s expectation that all schools and school districts will:

  • Foster an education environment that is safe and free from discrimination for all students, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression;
  • Comply with all federal and state laws concerning bullying, harassment, and discrimination;
  • Reduce the stigmatization of and improve the educational integration of transgender and nonconforming students, maintaining the privacy of all students, and fostering cultural competence and professional development for school staff; and
  • Support healthy communication between educators and parent(s)/guardian(s) to further the successful educational development and well-being of every student.

For more information, please read the Guidance for Rhode Island Schools on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students [PDF].