SCHOOL DISTRICT U-46 GUIDELINES TO SUPPORT TRANSGENDER STUDENTS
The Guidelines address the needs and concerns of transgender students and gender expansive students on a case-by-case basis. The District is committed to proactively address the needs and concerns of transgender and gender expansive students to ensure a safe and healthy environment where every student can learn.
The purpose of the key terms below is to assist in understanding the Guidelines and the District’s legal obligations.
“Sex” or “Biological Sex” is a label assigned at birth, based on a newborn’s reproductive anatomy. ● “Gender Identity” is the deeply felt sense that individuals have of their gender, male/female/something/other, regardless of the biological sex they were assigned at birth.
● “Transgender” describes an individual whose gender identity is different from the individual’s assigned sex.
● “Gender Expansive” (also known as Gender Non-Conforming, Gender Variant, or Gender Creative) is a term that refers to individuals whose gender expression does not follow social expectations or stereotypes based on their sex assigned at birth.
● “Gender Expression” refers to the way a person expresses gender, such as clothing, hairstyles, activities, or mannerisms. An example of this may be a male expressing femininity or a female expressing masculinity.
● “Transgender Student” is a student who consistently and uniformly asserts a gender identity different from the student’s assigned sex, or for which there is documented legal or medical evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of the student’s core identity. 2
● “Student Support Plan” is a plan developed by the Student Support Committee to ensure that transgender students are provided with the appropriate supports at their schools.
● “Student Support Committees” are composed of key District educational personnel, including the appropriate Assistant Superintendent, School Principal, the transgender student and parent/legal guardian and other appropriate school support personnel. Student Support Committees will develop a Student Support plan to ensure that transgender students are given the appropriate support at their schools to successfully continue their education.
● All- Gender Single Occupancy Restroom means a fully enclosed room, with a locking mechanism controlled by the user, containing a sink, toilet stall, and no more than one urinal.
Students need a safe and supportive school environment to progress academically and socially. District administrators, faculty, staff, and students all play an important part in creating a positive educational learning environment. To better support transgender students, Assistant Superintendents in conjunction with Principals shall ensure that these guidelines are implemented at the school level. If a transgender student or the parent/guardian of a transgenderstudent make a written request for any type of accommodations at the school level, the Principal will immediately contact the appropriate Assistant Superintendent to develop a Student Support Plan. At all times possible, the parent or legal guardian of the student making the request will be involved in developing a Student Support Plan for the transgender student.
It is the goal of the District, pursuant to Board Policy: “to pursue equal educational and extracurricular opportunities for all students without regard to race, color, nationality, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disability, status as homeless, order of protection status, actual or perceived marital or parentalstatus, gender identity, pregnancy, and any other legally protectable category. Equal Educational Opportunities Policy (7.010) 3 The District is required to create a learning environment in its schools where students are protected from bullying, discrimination, and harassment and to ensure that transgender students have a safe and welcoming school environment. This includes ensuring that any incident of discrimination, harassment, or violence is given immediate attention, including investigating the incident, taking appropriate corrective action, and providing students and staff with appropriate resources. Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on a person’s actual or perceived transgender status are to be handled in accordance with the District’s Anti-Harassment Policy (7.020).
All students have a right to privacy. Information about a student’s transgender status, legal name, or biological sex assigned at birth may also constitute confidential medical and student record information. Disclosing this information may violate privacy laws, such as the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA), and the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act. Transgender students have the right to openly discuss and express their gender identity and expression at school and school activities and to decide when, with whom, and how to share private information. School staff, however, shall not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to unauthorized parties. Therefore, given the sensitive nature of the information, when speaking with other staff members, parents, guardians, or third parties, school staff should not disclose a student’s preferred name, pronoun, or other confidential information pertaining to the student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status without the written permission of a transgender student who is eighteen years old or older or the written permission of the parent/legal guardian of a minor transgender student. Please contact the Student Support Committee with any questions.
Transgender students or their parents/legal guardians have the right to request that the student be addressed by a name and pronoun corresponding to the gender identity the student consistently asserts at school. Such Requests must be in writing. Parents/legal guardians of minor transgender students or students who are eighteen years or older are not required to obtain a court order and/or gender change orto change the student’s official records as a prerequisite to being addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their 4 student's gender identity provided the request is made in writing. In addition to the student’s legal name and biological sex, the student’s requested name and gender shall be added in their student records file in order to inform teachers of the name and pronoun to use when addressing the student. Information about the student’s legal name and biological sex shall be kept confidential.
Restroom and Locker Room Accessibility
Students shall have access to the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity consistently asserted at school. Effective January 1, 2020, all single occupancy restrooms shall be identified with exterior signage as all-gender. These accommodations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis in a manner consistent with the Student Support Plan. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided with reasonable alternative arrangements. Reasonable alternative arrangements may include the use of a private area, or a separate changing schedule, or use of any single all-gender restroom. Any alternative arrangement should be provided in a manner that protects the student’s privacy and is consistent with the Student Support Plan.
Physical Education, Sexual Health Education, Sports, Clubs, and School Events
Transgender students shall be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as all other students. Generally, students should be permitted to participate in gender segregated, recreational, physical education class activities, sexual health education, clubs, school events, and non-competitive sports in accordance with the gender identity the student consistently asserts at school. Participation in competitive athletic activities and contact sports will be resolved in accordance with the Illinois High School Association rules.
Transgender and gender nonconforming students have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or expression within the constraints of the dress codes adopted for all students at their schools. Schools may not adopt dress codes that restrict a student's clothing or appearance on the basis of gender.
Overnight School Trips
In no case should a transgender student be denied the right to participate in an overnight field trip because of the student’s transgender status. The respective Student Support Committee shall develop a plan to appropriately accommodate any transgender student’s participation in the overnight school trip. Students shall be permitted to participate in accordance with the gender identity consistently asserted at school.