State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Friday announced the formation of an ad hoc committee that will be charged with making recommendations to expand the availability of gender neutral bathrooms on California school campuses.
Thurmond will form a committee comprised of students, school staff, and key partners like Equality California who will brainstorm solutions for ensuring that schools have these facilities.
“We have to give our students all the support they need, including access to bathrooms they can use safely,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “I have been inspired by the students who have advocated on this issue and want to give students the opportunity to be a part of finding the solutions.”
Thurmond first became concerned that some campuses may lack adequate access to gender neutral bathrooms while moderating a panel in October with students for LGBTQ History Month.
Many of the students shared they would go the whole day without using a bathroom because they felt unsafe.
Thurmond’s concerns intensified this week when a Chino Valley Unified District school board member introduced a proposal to restrict the bathrooms that transgender students and gender-nonconforming youth could use.
Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) issued a letter informing the district that the proposed measure would violate state law. The proposal was defeated after students spoke out, raising their concerns with the proposed measure.
Senator Connie Leyva has been asked by Thurmond to co-chair the ad hoc committee. Leyva, whose Senate district includes Chino Valley Unified School District, joined dozens of student speakers at the school board meeting where the measure was defeated.
The State Superintendent’s ad hoc committee will be open to students from across the state, but a special effort will be made to engage students from the Chino Valley Unified School District.
Anyone who wishes to join the ad hoc committee can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.