The Manhattan-Ogden School Board planned to vote Wednesday on a policy to provide protections for transgender students. The board provided the full text of the guidelines in its agenda.
School district policy requires that students be free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The purpose of this regulation is to create a safe learning environment for all students by providing guidelines for schools and district staff to address the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming students. These guidelines cannot anticipate every situation that might occur with respect to transgender or gender nonconforming students, and the needs of each transgender or gender nonconforming student must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, the goal is to ensure the safety, comfort, and healthy development of the transgender or gender nonconforming student while maximizing the student’s social integration and minimizing stigmatization.
The definitions provided here are not intended to label students but rather to assist in understanding. Students might or might not use these terms to describe themselves.
A. “Gender identity” is a person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth. Everyone has a gender identity.
B. “Transgender” describes people whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth.
C. “Gender expression” refers to the way a person expresses gender, such as clothing, hairstyles, activities, or mannerisms.
D. “Gender nonconforming” describes people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as “feminine” boys, “masculine” girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous.
E. “Transitioning” is the process of changing one’s gender expression to accord with one’s gender identity when gender identity does not align with gender assigned at birth.
1. Transgender and gender nonconforming students shall be recognized as such to the extent desired and in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
2. The student and/or parents of a transgender student seeking to be recognized in a manner consistent with their gender identity shall contact the school principal to indicate this intent.
3. Parent notification is necessary for all students under 18 years of age seeking to be recognized in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
B. Privacy. All persons, including students, have a right to privacy. This includes the right to keep one’s transgender status or gender nonconforming presentation private at school.
1. 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 or gender nonconforming presentation to others, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.
2. Transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share information. When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender or gender nonconforming 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, or guardian has specified otherwise.
C. Official Record. The District is required to maintain a mandatory permanent pupil record (“official record”) that includes a student’s legal name and legal gender.
1. The District will change a student’s official record to reflect a change in legal name or legal gender upon receipt of documentation that such change has been made pursuant to a court order.
2. In situations where school staff or administrators are required by law to use or to report a transgender student’s legal name or gender, such as for purposes of standardized testing, school staff and administrators shall adopt practices to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of such confidential information.
3. School records that are not permanent official records may be amended to reflect the student’s preferred name and gender identity.
D. Names/Pronouns. A 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.
E. Gender-Segregated Activities
1. To the extent possible, schools should reduce or eliminate the practice of segregating students by gender.
2. In situations where students are segregated by gender, such as for health education classes, students should be included in the group that corresponds to their gender identity.
F. Student Information Systems
The record of a student in the student information system should be 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.
G. Restroom Accessibility
1. Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school.
2. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, may be provided access to a single stall restroom, but no student shall be required to use such a restroom.
H. Locker Room Accessibility
1. 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.
2. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided with a reasonable alternative changing area such as the use of a private area (e.g., a nearby restroom stall with a door, an area separated by a curtain, a P.E. instructor’s office in the locker room, or a nearby health office restroom), or with a separate changing schedule (e.g., using the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity before or after other students). Any alternative arrangement should be provided in a way that protects the student’s ability to keep his or her transgender status confidential, if the student so desires. In no case shall a transgender student be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.
I. Physical Education Classes & Intramural Sports
1. Transgender and gender nonconforming students shall be permitted to participate in physical education classes and intramural sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
J. Interscholastic Competitive Sports Teams
1. Transgender and gender nonconforming students shall be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity and in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
a. Notice to the School: The student and/or parents of a transgender student shall contact the school principal or athletic director indicating that the student desires to participate in activities in a manner consistent with his or her gender identity.
b. Upon notice that a student desires to participate in activities in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity, the athletic director or school principal shall notify the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA), prior to entering the student in the KSHSAA eligibility system and allowing participation.
c. Once a student elects to participate on a team consistent with their gender identity, the student must participate in that gender category in all sports for the remainder of their scholastic eligibility in grades 7-12. Annual renewal is not required.
d. In the event of a dispute over the student’s participation, the KSHSAA Executive Board will make final rulings.
K. Dress Codes
Transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression.
Transgender and gender nonconforming students have a right to a safe school environment. Discrimination or harassment based on gender identity or gender expression is expressly prohibited by school district policy. Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on a person’s actual or perceived transgender status or gender nonconformity shall be handled in the same manner as other discrimination or harassment complaints. (See Policy GAAB).