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  03/14/2017 AG Walker Weighs In On Rights Of Transgender Individuals In V.I. Public Schools  

AG Walker weighs in on rights of transgender individuals in V.I. public schools


ST. THOMAS, V.I. – Education Commissioner Sharon McCollum inquired of Attorney General Claude Earl Walker about the rights of transgender individuals in Virgin Islands public schools.

            In his March 2, 2017, letter, AG Walker said the statute protects the rights of transgender individuals.

“Virgin Islands law protects the rights of transgender individuals, based upon the statutory framework set forth in the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Act, codified at Title 10 V.I.C., et seq,” AG Walker states in the correspondence.

The rapid-fire legislative action by many states on this issue and the Federal Guidance letters, along with their rescission letter, have resulted in a litany of federal and state court cases with varying results and interpretations. Despite the ongoing controversy, the Virgin Islands law serves as the basis for civil rights and discrimination within the Territory, AG Walker wrote.

“Given the courts and agency decisions… it appears clear that the term ‘sex,’ as used in Title 10 of the Virgin Islands Code also should be interpreted to mean that in the U.S. Virgin Islands, discrimination against a transgender individual based on that persons’ transgender status is sex discrimination under the Virgin Islands Civil Rights statute,” AG Walker wrote.

AG Walker strongly recommended that Education officials adopt rules and regulations that would allow transgender individuals to use facilities with which they identify.

“With privacy curtains and other partitions, school districts across the country have addressed the privacy needs of all students in locker rooms in a non-stigmatizing manner based on the particular needs of the situation,” AG Walker wrote.

He added, “To assist, the Department would suggest that DOE consider the comprehensive policies that the U.S. Department of Education have outlined for schools to provide transgender students equal access to school resources and the examples they have.”

            AG Walker concluded that the Virgin Islands Legislature addressed matters of sexual discrimination in 2014 and created the “Bullying Prevention, Gang Resistance Education and Training” statute.

  Letter to Commissioner McCollum - Rights of Transgender individuals in VI public schools.pdf