SPARTA, NJ – Joining the conversation taking place across the country, Sparta School District Superintendent Dennis Tobin explained the district’s response to President Obama’s guidelines regarding transgender students.

“It is a mandate, a directive from the Obama administration, affecting schools across the country,” said Tobin.

At the board of education meeting on Monday Tobin, explained this was “not new law but a clarification of existing laws” related to Title IX.  Title IX was written to eliminate sexual discrimination in schools and is most commonly known because of the impact on school athletics. Title IX protects all students and staff from sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.   

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Tobin explained the building principals ” have worked closely to make sure all of the needs of our few transgender students are met.” 

He explained the district will be taking a close look at facilities as it relates to the directive.  Tobin said the staff “will take steps to increase privacy” where needed.  He said all schools, especially the high school bathrooms and locker rooms have private stalls and showers.  Tobin said the team locker rooms in the high school would also be looked at as options for additional private facilities if needed.

Earlier in the week Tobin sent a letter to the district’s families.  In it he said, “The Sparta School District has always prided itself on the fact that we empower our students to develop their own character and personalities.” 

The letter continued to explain the district works to create an atmosphere of acceptance, educating the students to “value each member of their community.”