Letters to the Editor

We need to make schools safer for transgender students

Activists and protesters with the National Center for Transgender Equality rally in front of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Washington, after the Department of Education and the Justice Department announce plans to overturn the school guidance on protecting transgender students.
Activists and protesters with the National Center for Transgender Equality rally in front of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, in Washington, after the Department of Education and the Justice Department announce plans to overturn the school guidance on protecting transgender students. AP

Rather than focusing on their education, many students struggle with the ability to come to school and be themselves without being punished for wearing clothes or using facilities consistent with who they are. With bullying and victim-blaming, these conflicts can lead to troubles with grades and/or mental health and involvement in the juvenile justice system. Many students do not work well in an environment where they are obviously not accepted. We should try to accommodate these kids so that they are not in a vulnerable situation.

Suicide attempts for transgender people are higher than other communities. About 41 percent of all transgender people have attempted suicide, which vastly exceeds the 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population who report a suicide attempt. Transgender youth face challenges at home, at school, in foster care and in juvenile justice systems. A national survey by GLSEN has found that 75 percent of transgender youth feel unsafe at school and had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education.

We need to make schools more safe and accepting for these students. Whereas, this is a personal issue, not political.

Eli Schweitzer, San Luis Obispo

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