AG Walker weighs in on rights of
transgender individuals in V.I. public schools
ST. THOMAS, V.I. – Education Commissioner Sharon McCollum inquired
of Attorney General Claude Earl Walker about the rights of transgender
individuals in Virgin Islands public schools.
his March 2, 2017, letter, AG Walker said the statute protects the rights of
law protects the rights of transgender individuals, based upon the statutory
framework set forth in the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Act, codified at Title
10 V.I.C., et seq,” AG Walker states
in the correspondence.
legislative action by many states on this issue and the Federal Guidance
letters, along with their rescission letter, have resulted in a litany of
federal and state court cases with varying results and interpretations. Despite
the ongoing controversy, the Virgin Islands law serves as the basis for civil
rights and discrimination within the Territory, AG Walker wrote.
courts and agency decisions… it appears clear that the term ‘sex,’ as used in
Title 10 of the Virgin Islands Code also should be interpreted to mean that in
the U.S. Virgin Islands, discrimination against a transgender individual based
on that persons’ transgender status is sex discrimination under the Virgin
Islands Civil Rights statute,” AG Walker wrote.
strongly recommended that Education officials adopt rules and regulations that
would allow transgender individuals to use facilities with which they identify.
curtains and other partitions, school districts across the country have
addressed the privacy needs of all students in locker rooms in a
non-stigmatizing manner based on the particular needs of the situation,” AG
He added, “To
assist, the Department would suggest that DOE consider the comprehensive
policies that the U.S. Department of Education have outlined for schools to
provide transgender students equal access to school resources and the examples
Walker concluded that the Virgin Islands Legislature addressed matters of
sexual discrimination in 2014 and created the “Bullying Prevention, Gang
Resistance Education and Training” statute.