Volusia County School Board stonewalls on helping transgender students

By : Staff Report
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Deltona, Fla. – The Volusia County School Board and Superintendent Margaret Smith have failed to return calls and emails from Equality Florida asking to reconvene about policies that prevent transgender students from using restrooms and facilities aligned with their gender identities.

The issue surfaced when Kyle Mournian, a senior student who was born a female but is now a fully transitioned male, was told by staff at Deltona High School he couldn’t use the boy’s restroom or other facilities despite the fact that he identifies as a boy, has been taking hormones for more than a year and has a girlfriend.

The second student is in middle school, and the student’s name and identity have not been released.

Mournian’s family, along with Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan spoke at a September school board meeting, addressing the discrimination against the transgender student. The ACLU, PFLAG and Equality Florida presented to Superintendent Smith and the school board proposals for policy recommendations and implantation, with Duncan providing herself and Equality Florida as a go-to resource for teachers, faculty and staff to address transgender student issues better.

Nothing transpired from these meetings, and Superintendent Smith said in an email to Duncan she doesn’t intend to change the district’s current practices in place.

Duncan has reached out to the school board attorney and Smith since then on several occasions and hasn’t heard from either.

Duncan said that because of this refusal to work with Equality Florida and accommodate for the transgender students, they’re not following policies laid out by the Board of Education and the Justice Department in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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