Restroom Information

Restroom Information
Posted on 03/15/2023
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Downloadable PDF copy of the below letter


Dear Bellaire Public Schools Families:

As a school community, we are expected to create a safe and welcoming climate, supervise it appropriately, and make clear our expectations concerning acceptable behaviors. Accordingly, following Federal law, the District prohibits discrimination, bullying, and harassment on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. If your student believes that they have experienced unlawful discrimination, harassment, or bullying, please report it directly to a school administrator so that the school can investigate.

I am writing this letter because we have recently received questions from some students and parents about student restroom use at school.

First, please understand that school officials and administrators cannot and will not answer questions about specific students: doing so is a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Second, the District recognizes that providing students with a safe and supportive educational environment is critical for student success.

School districts must sometimes set policies, based on what is best for students and families, because there are no specific State or Federal laws or court rulings that dictate how a school must operate. Others are mandated by State or Federal laws or court rulings, and public schools are obligated by law to follow these directives. For example, in 2016, the Michigan State Board of Education issued a “Statement and Guidance” that read, in part, “[w]hen a school provides gender-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students should be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

This Guidance specifically addresses questions about restroom use: “Students should be allowed to use the restroom in accordance with their gender identity. Alternative and non-stigmatizing options, such as an all-gender or single-user restroom, should be made available to all students who request them.” This Guidance remains in effect today.

In addition to this Guidance, actions prohibiting transgender students from using the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity have been struck down by several federal courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions apply to Michigan schools, for violating Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.

The District is legally required to allow transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity or single-user restrooms, whichever the student chooses. Additionally, if any student is not comfortable using a multi-user bathroom, for any reason, then that student may use a single-user restroom. This practice aligns with State and Federal law and guidance, case law, and advice from legal counsel.

If you have concerns, we strongly recommend contacting your State and Federal representatives.