EL CERRITO -- El Cerrito High School and Portola Middle School are moving to accommodate the restroom needs of transgender students under a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1.

The high school has designated a unisex restroom in the student health center for the use of transgender students, and the West Contra Costa school district is adding two unisex restrooms in the administration building at Portola for the same purpose, according to school board President Charles Ramsey.

Under AB1266, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and signed in August by Gov. Jerry Brown, transgender students must have access to separate restroom and locker room accommodations, but may also use either boys' or girls' facilities according to their gender identification.

"Students must be able to use a facility that conforms to their gender identity, and any student can ask for privacy," said district Trustee Todd Groves.

At a special board meeting Jan. 29, the district will hold "a conversation" around the new law and the larger issues of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and bullying on school campuses, Ramsey said.

Ramsey said the district doesn't know at this point how many of its students identify as transgender.

"We're developing strategies to make sure that kids don't come to school feeling isolated and unaccommodated," he said.



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