Gov. John Carney announced July 18 he has directed the Delaware Department of Education to develop specific guidelines — by regulation — for school districts and charter schools to use in developing policies that prohibit discrimination against students.

The guidelines will help districts and charters create consistent policies statewide that prohibit discrimination based on gender, race and/or ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or any other protected characteristic. The effort also will produce a model anti-discrimination policy that each district and charter could adopt, or tailor and adopt, to suit the needs of their students.

“These new guidelines will help ensure that districts and charter schools have the support they need to develop consistent, meaningful policies that prohibit discrimination against students,” Carney said. “I expect Delaware’s school districts to ensure that every student can attend school comfortably and without fear of discrimination — now and in the future. At the state level, we’re making sure that state agencies follow a consistent, anti-discrimination policy. This will help our schools move in that same direction.”

The Department of Education will develop the guidelines with input from the public and school leaders. They will provide clear guidance to districts and charters to prohibit discrimination in educational programs, and activities for students, on the basis of any legally protected characteristic.

Carney’s directive called for the new regulation to be published for public comment by Nov. 1.

“Our students, staff, and families deserve schools that treat every student with dignity,” said Susan Bunting, secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “It’s my job as secretary to ensure that happens for Delaware’s nearly 137,000 students.”

Read Carney’s memo to Bunting at bit.ly/2tnnc2H.