Media Contact

April 19, 2017


PHOENIX — The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona is urging the Scottsdale City Council to support transgender students and deny a partnership application proposed by a charter school operator that has a discriminatory, anti-transgender policy.

In June 2016, the board of directors of Great Hearts Academies adopted a policy that denies the dignity and autonomy of transgender students, the ACLU of Arizona explained in a letter sent Wednesday to the council. 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.

Great Hearts has proposed developing a public park in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch community, provided Great Hearts schools have priority access to use the athletic facilities built there. Approving the park would mean the Scottsdale City Council is offering exclusive park access to athletic teams that sideline transgender players.

“Approving the park partnership would make the City of Scottsdale complicit in discrimination against transgender students,” ACLU of Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler said. “Scottsdale must reject this partnership until Great Hearts adopts a policy that allows transgender students to live and learn as their true selves.”

Since the policy’s adoption last year, the ACLU of Arizona has heard from several families that suffered significant harm because of Great Hearts’ discriminatory, anti-transgender policy.

“Schools, workplaces, governments, and organizations across the country have figured out how to treat transgender people as human beings and respect their autonomy,” said ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Kathy Brody. “Instead of following this path, Great Hearts has adopted a policy intended to marginalize, stigmatize, and delegitimize transgender people. The City of Scottsdale, if it truly wants to welcome everyone, cannot condone Great Hearts’ position.”

The ACLU of Arizona's letter to the Scottsdale City Council is available here: