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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
April 13, 2012

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Proposed Amendments to Regulations on Access to Equal Educational Opportunity, 603 CMR 26.00, and Charter Schools, 603 CMR 1.00 - Non-Discrimination Based on Gender Identity

I am presenting to the Board this month, for initial review and a vote to solicit public comment, proposed amendments to the regulations on Access to Equal Educational Opportunity, 603 CMR 26.00, and Charter Schools, 603 CMR 1.00, to incorporate the new requirements of state law protecting students from discrimination in public schools based on gender identity. With the Board's approval, we will solicit public comment on the proposed amendments through early June and bring them back to the Board for a final vote on June 26, 2012.

An Act Relative to Gender Identity (Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011), which Governor Patrick signed into law on November 23, 2011, takes effect on July 1, 2012. Among other provisions, it amends G.L. c. 76, §5, pertaining to public school enrollment and nondiscrimination, and G.L. c. 71, §89, governing charter schools, by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The law defines gender identity as:

a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person's core identity; provided, however, that gender-related identity shall not be asserted for any improper purpose.

The proposed amendments to the regulations would revise 603 CMR 26.00 and 603 CMR 1.00 to align with the changes to G.L. c. 76, §5, and G.L. c. 71, §89, by including gender identity among the categories of discrimination that are prohibited within the public schools. Along with revising the regulations, we plan to work with the Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, the statewide educational associations, and others to provide guidance, technical assistance, and training to school districts on implementation of the new law.

Enclosed are the proposed amendments to both sets of regulations, with new language indicated by underline. Sections of the regulations that are not being changed are omitted. For the complete text of the current Regulations for Access to Equal Educational Opportunity, 603 CMR 26.00. The current Charter School Regulations may be found at: 603 CMR 1.00:. A copy of Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011 is also enclosed for your information.

Associate Commissioner John Bynoe and Associate General Counsel Dianne Curran will be present at the April 24 Board meeting to respond to your questions.

Enclosures:

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Proposed amendments to 603 CMR 26.00
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Proposed amendments to 603 CMR 1.00
Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011, An Act Relative to Gender Identity
Motion


Last Updated: April 18, 2012
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