Schools across the country are grappling with the Obama administration's request that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender that corresponds with their identity, but the Pleasanton school district's policies have long allowed students this choice.
Pleasanton's rules state students may pick which bathroom to use based upon which gender they most identify with, schools spokesman Patrick Gannon said. Those rules have been in place since 2014.
"The district will accept a student's asserted gender identity, where different from the student's biological gender, when there is evidence that it is a sincerely held part of the student's identity, and is consistently, exclusively and/or uniformly asserted at school," the district's administrative regulation rules state.
Those rules apply to all Pleasanton school bathrooms and locker rooms.
The letters sent last week to school districts across the country didn't have legal authority, but the letters suggested the possibility of lawsuits or stripping of federal funding if districts didn't comply.
"As a condition of receiving federal funds, a school agrees that it will not exclude, separate, deny benefits to, or otherwise treat differently on the basis of sex any person in its educational programs or activities unless expressly authorized to do so under Title IX or its implementing regulations," the eight-page letter reads.
The letter adds that schools must treat a student's gender identity as the student's sex for purposes of Title IX and its implementing regulations. This means that a school must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity."
However, California schools adjusted to this change back in 2013 when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that required public schools to allow transgender students to choose bathroom facilities and compete on sports teams based upon their gender identity, not their biological gender.
For example, a student who is biologically female but identifies as male and considers himself a male would be able to compete on an all-boys team, rather than an all-girls team.
Gannon said in the two years since the district changed its rules to be compliant with the state law, the Pleasanton district has not had any incidents or major complaints related to the policy.
Some Pleasanton schools also include gender neutral single-stall bathrooms, which any student can use.
Amador Valley High School's office bathrooms are designated as "gender neutral," interim principal Mike Williams said, and the gender neutral signs were among the first purchase he made when he was appointed principal.
"I want all students to have access and feel safe while they are at school," he said.