Proposed Anti-Discrimination Regulations in Delaware Receive Ove - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Proposed Anti-Discrimination Regulations in Delaware Receive Over 11,000 Comments

Posted: 12/06/2017 17:34:00 -05:00 Updated:

DOVER, Del.- Delaware's secretary of education is asking the anti-discrimination development team to review the proposed regulations after receiving more than 11,000 comments during the public comment period.

The Department of Education says the comments deserve careful review before any decision on the regulations is made. In January, the development team will reconvene, look at the comments, and then make any recommendations to change the regulations. If major changes are made, the regulations will go through another month-long period of public comment.

The move comes after Gov. John Carney's original memorandum suggested the regulations be in place by Dec. 15, and later Department of Education presentations stated they were aiming to have the regulations in effect by January. But some on the development team says that timing was changed a while ago.

"During the development team meeting process, we already decided that it was not a good idea to implement a new regulation in the middle of the school year," says Mark Purpura, who also serves on the board of CAMP Rehoboth. "[We decided] that it would be a much better idea and a smoother implementation process if school districts had the time to develop their individual policies, hold meetings, explain it to parents and students before the school year started."

Purpura says he hopes this new review will allow some misconceptions to be cleared up, such as some parents' beliefs that parents will be left out of the decision-making process.

"Parental involvement is integral to the process," says Purpura. "It's very clear [in parts of the regulations] that schools must work with students and their families to ensure that access is being given on the basis of gender identity."

Those on the other side of the issue say they too believe parents should be involved. Rep. Rich Collins, who has questioned the legality of the proposed regulations, says he hopes he sees different people in future development team meetings.

"What we need now is more Delaware citizens who can have their voices heard," he tells WBOC. "We are going to insist that these meetings be known; that they are in a room large enough that people can attend and make their desires known as well."

Collins says legislative action is needed if these regulations are to become reality.

"Just talking about it and having meetings about it is not going to change that," he says. "So if they want this type of regulation, they have to get into the General Assembly and get some legislation passed."

Pupura says allowing students to "choose" their gender identity during school hours is far less controversial than some have believed in recent weeks. 

"If you talk to transgender people, including transgender youth, uniformly they will explain to you that their gender identity is not a choice," he says. "It's a deeply held feeling that they have inside that their gender identity is not the same as their gender at birth."

"The regulation simply acknowledges that a student can choose to self-identify their gender identity or their race just like everybody does when they fill out forms in the doctor's office or in any other facet of their life every day," he continues.

The Department of Education says all comments received will be posted online so the public as well as committee members can review them prior to the development team's January meeting.



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