Transgender teen wins yearbook photo battle
Sat, 16 Nov 2013 00:12:09 GMT —
A transgender teen has won his yearbook photo battle with the La Feria Independent School Distrct.
Jeydon Laredo was born a girl but identifies himself as a boy.
The teen wanted his yearbook photo to be of him in a tuxedo like other boys at the school.
La Feria ISD school board originally wanted to keep the photo out of the high school yearbook contending that it did not meet "community standards."
But lawyers with the Souther Poverty Law Center agreed to help the family.
The organization threatened legal action on Wednesday.
In an agreement reached late Friday evening, attorneys for La Feria ISD gave written confirmation that Jeydon TMs tuxedo photo will appear in the yearbook.
The school district also agreed to present its board a policy change that would expressly include gender expression as a protected category in its anti-discrimination policies.
School district attorneys will also request that Superintendent Villarreal apologize to Jeydon and his mother for the treatment they received.
La Feria ISD Statement
There has been recent media coverage regarding a student TMs request for a dress code variance in the senior portrait section of the High School yearbook. The Administration of the District is whole-heartedly devoted to our students and they are often called upon to make judgment calls in real time. Dress code issues can be difficult and complicated. Oftentimes an administrator is called to balance perceived community standards and individualized requests.
The District accepts, embraces and supports each one of its students. Unfortunately, it has been misreported that the student was in danger of being completely excluded from appearing in the portrait section of the high school yearbook. To clear the record, the student was never in danger from being excluded. There were discussions between the student, the student TMs family and the Administration on options affiliated with a dress code, including options which were gender neutral.
District Policies govern the procedures for dealing with formal student grievances and/or concerns. Although there were informal meetings with District Administration with regard to a request for a dress code variance, the District contends that the formal process set forth in applicable District Policy for grieving a concern was not initiated. There was a recent appearance during the public comments portion of the November 11, 2013, School Board (the Board) meeting by representatives of the student on the issue of the dress code variance. The District TMs Board of Trustees was prohibited from taking formal action that evening due to limitations imposed by the Texas Open Meetings Act which prevents a public body in Texas from taking action on any item which is not posted on an agenda 72 hours prior to the meeting.
This afternoon there was a resolution conference with the student TMs legal representative. After considering the facts particular to this matter, the District believes the dress code issue to be resolved. The District shall utilize the photograph submitted by the student in the upcoming yearbook. The Board of Trustees, the Administration and the staff of the La Feria ISD are devoted to their students and wish to reemphasize their commitment to see that all students maximize their individual potential.