Leon County Schools Update Policies Affecting Transgender, Agender Students

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-16 17:48:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A Fairview Middle School student has withdrawn from the school after being sent home for wearing a dress to school, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

The eighth-grade student, a male at birth, identifies as "agender," or gender-neutral.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida contacted Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons regarding the incident. Pons responded Friday in a letter, saying he has met with the student and their mother and apologized to both of them on behalf of the district.

The school district is investigating the incident. The principal was unavailable for comment Friday.

School administrators are scheduled to attend a training session next Wednesday that will focus on transgender and agender students.

Officials will review dress codes at all schools to make sure they don't restrict students based on gender.

The ACLU of Florida says it applauds the district's response to the incident.

"I think schools can take it upon themselves to learn a little bit about how the law is changing and educate themselves more on issues that are facing their students," said staff attorney Daniel Tilley. "I think it's clear that Superintendent Pons is doing exactly that."

The Tallahassee chapter of the advocacy group PFLAG has also spoken out about the incident. Past chapter president says Pons has taken the right steps, but Fairview's decision to send the student home sends a negative message.

"When we're talking about a child who shows up to school who is anatomically a boy but in a dress, we're saying he's not dressed appropriately," Gage said. "Well, I show up every day in pants. Are you going to tell me I'm not dressed appropriately either? Why does clothing have a gender?"

The student and their mother were not available for comment Friday.