10 May 2016
A statewide conference for Oregon’s K-12 public schools entitled ‘Safe and Secure Schools’ was held April 21, 2016 in Eugene Oregon. Property and Casualty Coverage for Education (PACE), the largest provider of liability insurance to Oregon school districts. This conference provided a workshop titled ‘Responding to issues surrounding transgender students’ and was described as helping members learn how to ‘navigate transgender issues in schools’ as it relates to Title IX. Jollee Patterson, General Counsel, Portland Public Schools, the workshop speaker said that “The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is saying that transgender, gender fluid, nonconforming are protected under Title IX…[and that] we as educators now have a clear obligation to keep transgender students safe from bullying and harassment based on their gender identity” [ie: allow transgender students to use whichever bathroom and shower facilities that they most identify with - not based on their biological sex]. An audience member asked Patterson, “What about all the other students civil rights, feelings and privacy”? In response, Patterson stated that the “OCR has said that the rights of the transgender students trump the rights of the other students”. At the close of her presentation Patterson highly encouraged school districts to utilize TransActive Gender Center, a resource which provides chest binders and voice coaching to minors, condones minors using puberty blockers/feminizing and masculinizing hormones and supports the idea of 15-year-old minors getting sex changes. This PACE workshop did not reference the statutory obligations of Oregon school boards to assure that ALL of their students are safe, protected and supported in their school environment. Oregon law (ORS 339.353) addresses issues of harassment, intimidation or bullying and the necessity for school districts to provide a safe and civil environment in order for students to learn.