One lawmaker is urging parents to weigh in on proposed anti-discrimination policy and related regulations expected to be implemented by Delaware’s public schools.
The proposed Department of Education policy and regulations stem from a memorandum issued by Gov. Carney in July. Carney directed the Education Dept. to create a policy for First State schools to follow to help them address potential discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics.
But State Rep. Ruth Briggs King (R-Georgetown) says more community input is needed. She notes the public comment period is coming to a close on December 4 and only one public meeting was held in Sussex County.
“I went that evening, because frequently I like to go and hear the concerns of my constituents so I know what the issues are and I want to hear what they’re hearing. I was a little disappointed because I thought it was not that well attended. I think there was some special interest groups that were well represented,” said Briggs-King.
Briggs-King adds some of her constituents have specifically raised concerns about draft regulations involving “gender identity or expression,” such as participation on sports teams, bathroom and locker room access, use of a preferred name rather than a student’s legal name.
“The concern that children can do things. Children, their children that they’re responsible for can do things without the parents knowing about it; that the child could be able to go in, change their name and the parent not be or not have to give permission or not even know about it.”
The draft regulations do allow schools to ask permission from parents or legal guardians before accepting a name change, but call for school officials to consult with the student and assess if parents or guardians are aware and supportive of the student’s self-identification before doing so.
The complete draft regulations can be found at the state's website.
Public comments can be mailed to: Delaware Department of Education, RE: 225 Prohibition of Discrimination, Townsend Building, 401 Federal Street, Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901.
Comments can also be sent by email to: DOERegulations.firstname.lastname@example.org.