Valley schools prepare for new California transgender law

FRESNO, Calif.

When classes resume across the Valley in January, a new state law is scheduled to kick in. AB12-66 signed into law by governor Jerry Brown gives transgender K through 12 students the choice of using whichever bathroom matches their gender identity. The new law also gives students the option of playing on either girls or boys teams.

Hanford school leaders are prepping all employees for the upcoming changes.

"From a district perspective we have to understand we have to provide an environment that is safe and appropriate for every single student on our campus. That's a big challenge and we take that seriously," said Ward Whaley, Hanford Joint Union High School District.

Hanford Administrators said at least one transgender student, who now identifies as a female, will welcome the new rules. "They may say I saw that your referred to me as a male but I would like you to refer to me as a female please. Under the new legislation it is really our role and our job to facilitate that," said Whaley.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Fresno Unified schools said the district "Puts a strong emphasis on meeting the needs of all students. In light of the passage of this new legislation that goes into effect January 2014 we are reviewing our current policies and will make adjustments where warranted to assure that we adhere to the new legislation. "

Opponents of AB12-66 have collected signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal the law. If they reach about 505,000 signatures statewide, a measure will go on the November 2014 ballot. The secretary of state is still in the process of counting those signatures.

Hanford school leaders said a number of parents have expressed concerns about the new law. They are asking those parents to contact the principals to try work through those concerns.

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