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Vermont Officials Respond To Federal Reversal Of Transgender Student Protections

In response to the Trump Administration rescinding protections that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, among other things, Vermont officials say they will uphold locally inscribed rights for those students.

In an email, Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe reminded educators that policies for local schools are grounded in Vermont statute; therefore the federal decision should not change local students' experiences.

From NPR: 5 Questions About The Trump Administration's New Transgender Student Guidance

The National Education Association in Vermont admonished the Trump administration's decision. In a statement, President Martha Allen said:

“I am appalled at the president’s hurtful decision to threaten students. It is wrong and dangerous, and it goes against the very values we hold dear as educators and Vermonters. Since the president’s action doesn't change federal laws that protect all students, I urge all Vermont schools and their superintendents to join us in protecting the rights of all students, especially LGBTQ children who are most threatened by this hateful action.”

On Thursday, Attorney General TJ Donovan also responded the to president's announcement, and re-affirmed his commitment to protect civil rights of all Vermonters.

And the Burlington School district also in a statement that it supports diversity and inclusion, and would not change its policies in response to the federal action. 

UPDATE 1:55PM 2/24/2017: A joint press release from state of Vermont officials regarding the rights of transgender students included Governor Phil Scott's comments: "Vermont remains committed to ensuring all students feel safe and welcome in their school. Our schools will continue to operate under the Vermont Agency of Education’s best practices, which are based on Vermont statute that protects individuals based on gender identity. These practices are not dependent on Federal law or guidance, so will not be impacted by changes in Washington." 

Rebecca Sananes was VPR's Upper Valley Reporter. Before joining the VPR Newsroom, she was the Graduate Fellow at WBUR and a researcher on a Frontline documentary.
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