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Le Feria School Board Guidance Letter

Le Feria School Board Guidance Letter

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Published by South Texas News
A guidance letter sent from the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center to La Feria Independent School District involving trans student Jeydon Loredo.

For more information visit www.southtexasnews.net
A guidance letter sent from the Human Rights Campaign and the Southern Poverty Law Center to La Feria Independent School District involving trans student Jeydon Loredo.

For more information visit www.southtexasnews.net

More info:

Published by: South Texas News on Nov 13, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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La Feria Independent School DistrictBoard of TrusteesP.O. Box 1159203 East Oleander AvenueLa Feria, Texas 78559November 5, 2013Dear Members of the La Feria School Board,
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. The Human Rights Campaign is the largest civil rights organization in the United States working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. We write to express our support of Jeydon Loredo, a senior at La Feria High School who intends to appear at the November 11, 2013 School Board meeting to appeal a decision made by Superintendent Villarreal. Jeydon is an outstanding young person. He is a model student and an active participant in his high school community. He is devoted to his close-knit family. Jeydon is also transgender.
 When Jeydon was born, he was assigned a female gender and correspondingly raised as a girl throughout much of his time at the La Feria School District. With the full support of his family, friends, and physician, and a full nine years after he entered the district as a fourth grader, Jeydon now identifies as a man. Jeydon recently wore a tuxedo for his senior portrait. He expected that his picture would be included in the school yearbook, along with the pictures of all his fellow students and friends. Superintendent  Villarreal, however, has determined that Jeydon’s picture may
 be included in the yearbook  because the picture purportedly would offend “community standards.This decision is misguided and wrong. “Community standards,” such as standards of inclusion, respect, and nondiscrimination, actually counsel in favor of
 Jeydon’s portrait, not
 it. Jeydon’s gender identity is male and he should be allowed to wear a tuxedo in accordance with that gender identity. Courts have held that it may be a violation of civil rights laws to refuse to allow even a
 student to wear a tuxedo in a yearbook photo. We write to support Jeydon’s appeal, and to provide background that may enable a full understanding of the situation.
Jeydon’s Commitment to School and Family 
Jeydon moved to this community nine years ago with his mother, Stella Loredo, and his three older  brothers. Jeydon has been a model student since his arrival. Throughout Ms. Loredo’s years attending
1 “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else.”
 american psychological association
 Available at:
school open houses, she has heard nothing but praise for her child, coupled with requests from his teachers that he raise his hand more often. Jeydon has never been called to the principal’s office or had any other type of disciplinary issue.Jeydon channels his energy into the activities he loves most—particularly art and mechanics. He speaks excitedly about learning to take apart a computer and put it back together in Computer Maintenance, and about how cool it was to learn how to weld in Agricultural Mechanics. Following graduation he hopes to attend the Art Institute in Austin in order to pursue his dream of making music, a dream begun in part through his experience in band here at Noemi Dominguez Elementary School.The Loredo family is very close-knit. Jeydon drives to school every morning with his 67-year-old grandmother, Lupe Loredo. He and Lupe spend a good bit of time together, as do most members of the family. Ms. Loredo makes dinner for her family every night and provides for them through her job as an Office Manager with the Texas Department of Transportation.
The Yearbook Picture
Jeydon approached his inclusion in the yearbook like any other student—with excitement and enthusiasm. He told his mother beforehand and she arranged to pay in advance for proofs of the photographs. The day they were taken, he made sure his hair was tidy and picked out a special outfit for the casual photo. For the formal wear photo, Jeydon selected a tuxedo just like any other boy. As he sat for the yearbook photo, he asked the photographer to confirm that the tuxedo photo would appear in the yearbook along with the photos of all of his friends. The photographer told Jeydon he didn’t know but that Jeydon could ask the yearbook teacher if he wanted. Then the photographer told Jeydon to smile and snapped a shot, quickly moving on to the next student.Like any other proud parent, Ms. Loredo was looking forward to seeing the proofs. She wanted to see the photos of her son as they would appear in the yearbook. When she received proofs of the yearbook photographs a few weeks ago, Ms. Loredo was confused. She received only the casual photo; the formal photo of her son wearing a tuxedo was nowhere to be found. She called the photography studio to ask if there was a mistake. The co-owner told Ms. Loredo that officials from the La Feria School District instructed the studio’s owners not to release the tuxedo photo. Jeydon told Ms. Loredo that the yearbook teacher had told him the tudexo photo would not be in the yearbook. Ms. Loredo immediately contacted Superintendent Villarreal to determine the reason for this decision.Ms. Loredo met with Superintendent Villarreal on Friday, October 25th, 2013. Mr. Villarreal told Ms. Loredo at the meeting that he would not allow the yearbook to publish the photo because he did not consider her son to  be a boy on account of the fact that his birth certificate indicated he was born female. Superintendent Villarreal said he would only allow a formal photo of Ms. Loredo’s son in the yearbook if her son wore a drape or a white  blouse. Superintendent Villarreal told Ms. Loredo that the photo of Jeydon in a tuxedo was inappropriate under La Feria’s “community standards.” Mr. Villarreal told Ms. Loredo that if she had a problem with his decision, she could appeal it to the school board.
The District Should Permit Jeydon’s Picture To Be Included in the Yearbook
Superintendent’ Villarreal’s reliance on what he believes to be “community standards” does not justify excluding Jeydon’s picture from the yearbook. Jeydon and his mother know this community. It is a place of tolerance. It is where Jeydon has grown and flourished. Jeydon and his mom know that this community will accept him for who he is.Jeydon, as mentioned above, is transgender. This means that although Ms. Loredo raised Jeydon as a girl, he has a male gender identity. Every major medical and mental health organization in the country recognizes that gender identity is distinct from biology—that is, the fact that Jeydon was raised a girl does not make his male
la feria school board / november 5, 2013 / page 2

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