Transgender Student May Wear Boy’s Graduation Gown
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RED LION, Pa. (AP) — A transgender student in central Pennsylvania will be allowed to wear a boy’s colors to next month’s graduation ceremony but will be identified by his female name, a resolution the American Civil Liberties Union said Monday doesn’t go far enough.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania released a letter from a lawyer for the Red Lion School District summarizing its handling of the student, who uses the name Issak Wolfe but is enrolled as Sierra Stambaugh. The teenager, a senior at Red Lion Senior High School, says he plans to undergo a physical transition.
Wolfe said he was disappointed the district refused to honor his wishes and request for a broader nondiscrimination policy.
“I want to make sure that future transgender students are not humiliated and disrespected the way I was,” he said in a statement provided by the ACLU.
The ACLU asked the school to let Wolfe wear a boy’s black graduation gown instead of the yellow caps and gowns for girls, and to have his male name read at the June 7 ceremony (see related story).
District lawyer Benjamin Pratt’s letter said Wolfe may wear black, but he’ll be listed by his legal names like other students. The ACLU said Wolfe recently turned 18 and the name-change process would not be completed in time for graduation.
According to the ACLU, Wolf plans to raise the issue at a school board meeting later this month.
Pratt did not return a phone message seeking comment Monday.
The ACLU had also demanded an apology for the high school principal’s decision to list Wolfe by his birth name on the ballot for the April 27 prom, denying Wolfe a chance to run for prom king as he had hoped (see related story).
Pratt wrote that the school district had already apologized for a “lack of communication” on where Wolfe was placed on the prom court ballot.
“Since neither the student nor the parents have asked for a public apology prior to your involvement, the district will not provide another apology at this time,” Pratt wrote to the ACLU.
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