Transgender Students

5756

The Board of Education is committed to provide a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all students.  In furthering this goal, the Board adopts this Policy to ensure all students, including transgender students, have equal educational opportunities and equal access to the school district’s educational programs and activities.  The Board of Education, administration, and all school staff members will comply with Federal and State laws and regulations regarding transgender students and no student shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

 

For the purposes of this Policy:

 

1.  “Gender expression” refers to the way a student represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice, or mannerisms. 

 

2.  “Gender identity” means a student's deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth. 

 

3.   “Gender identity or expression” also means having or being perceived as having a gender-related identity or expression whether or not stereotypically associated with a person’s assigned sex at birth. 

 

4.    “Gender nonconforming” describes a student whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as "feminine" boys, "masculine" girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous. 

 

5.      “Transgender” describes students whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth.

The Board of Education believes the responsibility for determining a student's gender identity rests with the student, or, in the case of young students not yet able to advocate for themselves, with the parent.  Therefore, the Board will accept a student's assertion of his or her gender identity when there is consistent and uniform assertion of the gender identity, or any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as a part of the student’s core identity.  The Board authorizes the Superintendent or designee to question a student's asserted gender identity when there is a credible basis for believing the student's gender identity is being asserted for some improper purpose.

 

Confirmation of a student's asserted gender identity shall include a letter from a parent and/or guardian and/or student, to the Superintendent of Schools indicating the student is gender non-conforming.  In the event the parent does not consent to the student’s gender identity, the Superintendent or designee will meet with the parent and/or guardian and/or student to determine how the student’s gender identity shall be addressed by the school district. In the event a parent and/or guardian does not consent, the student’s desire will control.

The Board recognizes school-related issues regarding transgender students will vary on a case-by-case basis.  Therefore, the Superintendent of Schools or designee will meet with the parent and/or guardian and/or student to discuss school-related issues.  The issues to be discussed shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

1.       Privacy – All persons, including students, have a right to privacy. This includes the right to keep private one’s transgender status at school. Information about a student’s transgender status, legal name, or gender assigned at birth also may constitute confidential medical information. School personnel should not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents or other school personnel, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure. Transgender and gender non-conforming students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, and with whom and how much to share private information.

When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender or gender non-conforming student, school personnel should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s gender assigned at birth unless the student, parent and/or guardian has specified otherwise.

 

2.        Names/PronounsA student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s gender identity. A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student need not change his or her official records.  The intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity (eg. intentionally referring to the student by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student’s gender identity) is a violation of this policy.

 

3.        Official Records – The District is required to maintain a mandatory permanent pupil record (“official record”) that includes the student’s legal name and legal gender. However, the District is not required to use a student’s legal name and gender on other school records or documents and may use the student’s gender identification on these other records.  The District shall change a student’s official record to reflect a change in legal name or legal gender only upon receipt of documentation that such change has been made pursuant to court order. In situations where school staff or administrators are required by law to use or report a transgender student’s legal name or gender, such as for purposes of standardized testing, school staff and administration shall adopt practices to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of such confidential information.

 

 4.       Gender- Segregated Activities, Use of Restrooms, Locker Rooms,     Physical Education Classes, Competitive Sports – In situations where students are segregated by gender, such as for health education classes, transgender students should be included in the group that corresponds to their gender identity.  Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school. Any student who has the need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a single stall restroom, but no student shall be required to use such a restroom.  The use of locker rooms by transgender students shall be assessed on a case by case basis with the goals of maximizing the student’s social integration and equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes and sports, ensuring the student’s safety and comfort and minimizing stigmatization of the student.  In most cases, transgender students should have access to the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school. Any student who has the need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a reasonable alternative changing area, such as the use of a private area (e.g. a single stall restroom, a health office restroom) or with a separate changing schedule, but no student shall be required to use such a locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.  Any alternative arrangement should be provided in a way that protects the student’s ability to keep his or her transgender status confidential.  Transgender and gender non-conforming students shall be permitted to participate in physical education classes,  intramural sports, and interscholastic competitive sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity.

 

5.     Dress Codes – Transgender and gender non-conforming students have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression, as long as the students abide by the district’s dress code applicable to all students. In general, the District will not restrict a student’s clothing or appearance on the basis of gender.

 

6.      Notification of District Staff Members and Student Information Systems – The District student information system is modified to prevent disclosure of confidential information and ensure that school personnel use a student’s preferred name and pronouns consistent with the student’s gender identity.  The Superintendent or his or her designee with meet with student and/or parent and/or guardian, on a case by case basis, to mutually determine which district staff members are notified of the student’s transgender status.  It is recommended that at a minimum, the student’s home room teacher, guidance counselor and school nurse are informed of the student’s transgender status.

 

7.      Discrimination/Harassment – The School District will investigate any reported complaints of harassment, intimidation and/or bullying based on a student’s transgender status or gender non -conformity in accordance with the District’s HIB policy.

 

In the event a student no longer identifies with a previously asserted gender other than their gender at birth, a parent and/or guardian and/or student shall submit a letter to the Superintendent of Schools indicating the student is no longer gender nonconforming.  The Superintendent or designee will meet with the parent and/or guardian and/or student to discuss the transition of the student from gender nonconforming to gender conforming.  In the event the parent and/or guardian does not consent to the student’s assertion that the student is no longer gender nonconforming, the Superintendent or designee will meet with the parent and/or guardian and/or student to determine how the student’s gender identity should be addressed by the school district. 

 

The school district and school staff members will ensure the privacy of any student’s transgender status and will not disclose or acknowledge a student’s transgender status unless required to in accordance with any Federal law, State statute, administrative code, or if the parent and/ir guardian and/or  student have authorized such disclosure.

 

N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.

Title IX, 20 U.S.C. Section 1681

 

Adopted:  23 October 2014

Revised: 28 April 2016