In June 2016, the board of directors of public charter school organization Great Hearts Academies adopted a policy that marginalizes and delegitimizes transgender students enrolled in its schools. The policy allows school staff to mistreat transgender students by classifying them in accordance with their sex assigned at birth, not their gender identity. This policy applies to what name and restroom students can use, the uniform and grooming standards they must follow, and their eligibility for athletic teams.
When the ACLU of Arizona recently discovered that Great Hearts proposed developing a public park in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch community, it was time to take action.
If the Scottsdale City Council were to approve the park, it would mean Scottsdale would be offering exclusive park access to athletic teams that sideline transgender players. In effect, the park partnership would make Scottsdale complicit in discrimination against transgender students.
Now, more than 130 members of the Great Hearts community, mostly alumni, have sent an open letter to the board of directors, expressing their concern about the Academies’ anti-transgender policy. They explained why this policy denies the dignity and autonomy of transgender students, and how damaging its consequences can be. The letter urges the board of directors to reverse their discriminatory policy and allow transgender students to live and learn as their true selves.
Scottsdale is still considering entering into the park partnership with Great Hearts and is conducting public meetings to solicit community feedback about the proposal. For more information about these meetings, visit the City of Scottsdale website.