Transgender Agenda for York Schools:
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
YORK SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING TONIGHT MAY 5 @ 6:30 P.M.
2nd Read DRAFT - 5/5/2021
NEPN/NSBA CODE: JB
The purposes of these guidelines this policy are:
1) to foster a learning environment that is safe, and free from discrimination, harassment
and bullying; and
2) to assist in the educational and social integration of transgender students in our schools.
These guidelines are This policy is intended to be interpreted in light of applicable federal
and state laws and regulations, as well as other York School Committee (YSC) policies,
procedures and school rules.
These guidelines are This policy is not intended to anticipate every possible situation that may occur, since the needs of particular students and families differ depending on the student’s age and other factors. In addition, the programs, facilities and resources of each school also differ. Administrators and school staff are expected to consider the needs of students on a case-by-case basis, and to utilize these guidelines and other available resources as appropriate.
The following definitions are not intended to provide rigid labels for students, but to assist in discussing and addressing the needs of students. The terminology in this area is constantly evolving, and preferences for particular terminology vary widely. Administrators, school staff, volunteers, students and others who interact with students are expected to be sensitive to the ways in which particular transgender students may wish to be identified. However, for the sake of brevity, these guidelines refer to “transgender students.”
- Sexual orientation – Sexual orientation is defined in Maine Law (The Maine Human Rights Act) as an individual’s “actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression.” Additionally, sexual orientation can also be defined as a person’s romantic and/or physical attraction to people of the same or opposite gender or other genders.
- Gender identity - Gender identity is defined in Maine Law (The Maine Human Rights Act) as the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at birth.
Gender identity – A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than the sex assigned at birth.
- Gender expression – The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice or mannerisms.
- Transgender – An adjective describing a person whose gender identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with an assigned sex at birth.
- Transition – The process by which a person begins to live according to their gender identity. goes from living and identifying as one gender to living and identifying as another. Transition is a process that is different for everyone, and it may or may not involve social, legal, or physical changes.
C. Addressing the Needs of Transgender Students
For the purposes of these guidelines this policy, a student will be considered transgender if, at school, they consistently assert a gender identity or expression different from the sex assigned at birth. This involves more than a casual declaration of gender identity or expression, but it does not necessarily require a medical diagnosis.
The following procedure will be used to address needs raised by transgender students and/or their parent(s)/guardian(s).
- A transgender student and/or their parent(s)/guardian(s) should contact the building administrator. In the case of a student who has not yet enrolled in school, the appropriate building administrator should be contacted.
- A meeting should be scheduled to discuss the student’s particular circumstances and needs. In addition to the student, parent(s)/guardian(s) and building administrator, other participants may be invited with student/parent permission include including the guidance school counselor or social worker, school nurse, teachers and/or other school staff, and possibly outside providers who can assist in developing a plan for that student.
- A plan should be developed by the school, in consultation with the student, parent(s)/
- The school may request documentation from medical providers or other service providers as necessary to assist staff in developing a plan appropriate for the student. The school may not require such documentation nor may it deny a transgender student a plan due to lack of documentation.
- If the parties cannot reach an agreement about the elements to be included in the plan, then the plan shall be reviewed and finalized by the building administrator and/or Superintendent and/or Affirmative Action Officer.
D. Guidance on Specific Issues
The student plan should address how to deal with disclosures that the student is transgender. In some cases, a student may want school staff and students to know, and in other cases the student may not want this information to be widely known. School staff should take care to follow the student’s plan and not to inadvertently disclose information that is intended to be kept private or that is protected from disclosure (such as confidential medical information).
School staff should keep in mind that under FERPA, student records may only be accessed and disclosed to staff with a legitimate educational interest in the information. Disclosures to others should only be made with appropriate authorization from the administration and/or parents/guardians.
- Official Records:
Schools are required to maintain a permanent record for each student which includes legal name and gender. This information is also required for standardized tests and official school unit reports. This official information will only be changed upon receipt of documentation that a student’s name or gender has been changed in accordance with any applicable laws. Any requests to change a student’s legal name or gender in official records should be referred to the Superintendent.
To the extent that the school is not required to use a student’s legal name or gender on school records or other documents, the school should use the name and gender identified in the student’s plan.
Students may, upon request, have a diploma and course records reissued with a name change after graduation.
The Superintendent is authorized to create an administrative procedure describing which records, reports, and documents require the use of a student’s legal name and gender and the documents, databases, and situations in which the student’s affirmed/preferred name and gender should be used.
A student who has been identified as transgender under these guidelines should be addressed by school staff and other students by the name and pronoun corresponding to the gender identity consistently asserted at school. This foundational respect should not rely on whether a student has access to a legal name change or gender marker change on official documents.
A student who has been identified as transgender under these guidelines should be permitted to use the restrooms assigned to the gender which the student consistently asserts at school. A transgender student who expresses a need for privacy will be provided with reasonable alternative facilities or accommodations such as using a separate stall, or single-user/gender neutral restroom. However, a student shall not be required to use a separate non-communal facility over their objection.
- Locker Rooms:
As a general rule, transgender students will be permitted to use the locker room assigned to the gender which the student consistently asserts at school. A transgender student will not be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the gender identity consistently asserted at school. A transgender student who expresses a need for privacy will be provided with reasonable alternative facilities or accommodations, such as using a separate stall, a privacy curtain, an alternative locker room, or separate accommodating schedule.
- Other Gender-Segregated Facilities or Activities:
As a general rule, in any other facilities or activities when students may be separated by gender, transgender students may participate in accordance with the gender identity consistently asserted at school. Interscholastic athletic activities should be addressed through the Maine Principals Association Transgender Participation Policy. District YSD staff will support students navigating the eligibility process to try to ensure a respectful and supportive process for the students.
- Dress Code:
Students may dress in accordance with their gender identity, within the constraints of policy JICA Student Dress Code and Student Handbooks. School staff must not enforce a school’s dress code more strictly against any group of students, including transgender students.
- Safety and Support for Transgender and Transitioning Students:
Discrimination, harassment and bullying are prohibited within the districtYSD. School staff are expected to comply with any plan developed for a transgender student and to notify the building administrator or other designated support person for the student if there are concerns about the plan, or about the student’s safety, or welfare, or treatment by others.
School staff should be sensitive to the fact that transgender and transitioning students may be at higher risk for being bullied or harassed, and should are obligated to immediately notify the appropriate administrator if they become aware of a problem.
- Media and Community Communication:
Communications to the media or community about this policy will be only through the Superintendent or their designee. Protecting the privacy of transgender students, is must be a top priority for the District Department and all staff, and all personally identifiable and medical information shall be kept strictly confidential, in accordance with local, state, and federal privacy laws.
- If the district YSD has a credible and objective reason to believe that a student’s gender identity is being asserted for questionable purposes, the district it may request additional evidence supporting the student’s stated gender identity. Evidence may include the following:
- A written statement from a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or nurse who has been involved with the student’s healthcare;
- A written statement from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker who has met with the student;
- Passports or other formal documents showing the student’s legal gender;
- Familial documents, such as family photographs or statements from the student’s
e. A statement from an adult who is close to the student and can speak to the student’s
E. Staff Training and Informational Materials
The Superintendent and/or building principal may institute in-service training and/or distribute educational materials about transgender issues to school staff as they deem appropriate.
Legal Reference: Maine Human Rights Act, 20-A 5 M.R.S.A. §§ 4553, 4591,4601
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
(20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99)
Cross Reference: AC - Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
ACAA- Harassment and Sexual Harassment of Students
JIC - System-wide Student Code of Conduct
JICA - Student Dress Code
JICC - Student Conduct on Buses
JICI- Extracurricular & Co-curricular Activities Code of Conduct for YHS
JICK - Bullying and Cyberbullying in Schools Prevention
JLF - Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
JRA - Student Records and Information
Maine Principals’ Association Handbook 2020-2021
Administrative Procedures: ACAA-R - Student Discrimination and Harassment
JRA-E- Annual Notice of Student Education Records and
JRA-R- Student Education Records and Information
First Read: 4/7/2021
Second Read: 5/5/2021