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Vt. Education Secretary Reaffirms State's Policy For Supporting Transgender Students

Last year, the Vermont Agency of Education released its "Best Practices for Schools Regarding Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students." The agency recently reissued those guidelines after President Trump rescinded an Obama order compelling public schools to let students use restrooms that conform to their gender identity, not their biological sex.

That guideline had not been fully implemented nationwide because of a legal fight, but Trump's decision to roll back that executive order effectively leaves the decision up to individual states and potentially individual schools.

Vermont's Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe says Trump's announcement does not mean a change for Vermont.

"Vermont's best practices are really grounded in state law," Holcombe told Vermont Edition. "And so any change at the federal level within the way it's currently configured doesn't have any impact on our continuing best practices here in the state of Vermont."

More: Vermont Officials Respond To Federal Reversal Of Transgender Student Protections

On the program, Holcombe provided an overview of what is laid out in those established best practices, some related Vermont legislation, and specifically how restroom accommodations for students are to be addressed.

Holcombe also discussed the response received from parents and school administrators in the wake of Trump's reversal of the Obama executive order, as well as after the agency redistributed the best practices.

"Part of the reason we re-sent the guidance was to reassure people that we actually have policy stability in this space," Holcombe said. "That because we rooted our best practices in state law, not in federal decisions, that federal action at that level really doesn't have any bearing. It really is a state responsibility at this point ... The purpose in resending the best practices was to remind people that this really is just a continuation of current Vermont policy."

Listen to the full interview from Vermont Edition above.

Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
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