WESTFIELD, NJ — The Board of Education is set to approve a policy providing protections for transgender students.
The policy on Tuesday’s agenda “ensures a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment for transgender pupils.” Anticipated approval of the policy follows guidelines issued by the state Department of Education in 2018 providing direction for addressing the needs of transgender students.
Among the mandates of the proposed policy are the following:
- All pupils are entitled to have access to restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities in accordance with their gender identity to allow for involvement in various school programs and activities.
- Transgender pupils who are uncomfortable using a sex-segregated restroom should be provided with a safe and adequate alternative, such as a single “unisex” restroom or the nurse’s restroom.
- The school district must accept a student’s asserted gender identify. Parental consent is not required for this.
- If a parent objects to a student’s name change request, the district should consult the school board attorney regarding the student’s civil rights and protections under the law.
- The principal or another staff member should discuss with a transgender student the risks associated with that student’s transgender status being inadvertently disclosed.
Westfield would be among a series of school districts to discuss similar policies.
In 2017, the New Providence Board of Education addressed the issue. In 2015, the school board in Mountainside discussed a policy pertaining to transgender students. And in September 2019, the Glen Rock Board of Education, located in Bergen County, approved a policy on gender identity.
The policy will be heard on first reading Tuesday. It would require a second vote before being enacted. The Board of Education meets Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the School District Administration Building, 302 Elm St., I in Westfield. Click here for the full text of the proposed policy.
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