Minnesota issues best practice guide for serving transgender students in public schools
Minnesota's School Safety Technical Assistance Council’s “Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” is not intended to be a mandate, but is more of a guide for educators in issues related to transgender students, The 74 reports.
The guide includes background information on the struggles that transgender students experience in public schools, including 77% reporting that they have been harassed at school and 50% saying that they did not participate in school activities because they’re worried about discrimination.
The toolkit recommends that schools should allow students to participate in all activities including athletics, the prom and homecoming in keeping with their gender identity, and that educators should not punish students for wearing clothes that are not consistent with gender stereotypes.
In February, the Trump administration withdrew federal guidance issued by President Obama that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. The action means that decisions on these issues are left up to states and local school districts. Since then, many districts have taken efforts to show support for transgender students by adding gender-neutral bathrooms or issuing statements of support for these students.
Education organizations have also released documents and other resources to help educators confronted with related challenges. "Transgender Students in Schools" from the National School Boards Association provides information on the changing legal landscape surrounding transgender students and examples of school board policies related to protecting transgender students from discrimination. So far, however, there has been no clear guidance from the federal courts on the issue.
In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled in favor of a Wisconsin transgender boy who sued after his district required him to use either the girl’s bathroom or a gender-neutral bathroom in the school’s office. But earlier this month, the 4th Circuit decided to put off a decision in the case of Gavin Grimm of Virginia. The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court earlier this year.
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