Guidelines for Supporting LGBTQ+

Updated on Sat, 01/22/2022 - 11:40am

Guidelines for Supporting Students and Employees who are Transgender or Gender Nonconforming

District Policies:  Nondiscrimination 84008410 

Bullying/Harassment  5110

PURPOSE

State and federal law as well as District Policy require that all District programs, activities, and employment practices are free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, transgender identity, gender identity and gender expression. These guidelines are issued in keeping with these mandates and are designed to apply District Policies 8400, 8410 and 5110 to situations encountered in our schools. Like District Policy, these guidelines are intended to create a safe learning and working environment for all students and all staff and to support the needs of any Adams 12 Five Star Schools student or employee who is transgender or gender nonconforming.  

As with any guiding document, we cannot anticipate every situation. Each student and employee must be addressed and supported in accordance with District Policy and applicable law, so that the District ensures that all students and employees, regardless of their gender identity or expression, are included and respected.

TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

The terms and definitions below are always evolving and changing and often mean different things to different people. They are provided not for the purpose of labeling, but as a starting point for understanding and to assist in implementing these guidelines. Students and employees may or may not use these terms to describe themselves or their experiences. 

GENDER EXPRESSION

The manner in which a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through external appearance, characteristics, or behaviors.

GENDER FLUID:

A gender identity which refers to a gender which varies over time. A gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, transgender, non-binary, neutrois, any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities. Their gender can also vary at random or in response to different circumstances. Gender fluid people may also identify as multigender, non-binary and/or transgender. Gender fluid people may feel more comfortable using gender neutral pronouns and have an androgynous gender expression.

GENDER IDENTITY: 

A person’s innate sense of their own gender, which can include being female, male, or non-binary. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than their sex assigned at birth. The responsibility for determining an individual’s gender identity rests with the individual. Children typically begin to understand their own gender identity by age four, although the age at which individuals come to understand and express their gender identity may vary based on each person’s social and familial development.

GENDER NONCONFORMING: 

A term for people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as “feminine” boys, “masculine” girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous. This includes people who identify outside traditional gender categories or identify as multiple genders. Other terms that can have similar meanings include gender diverse or gender expansive.

NAME OF USE:

The name that a person would like others to use when speaking to or about them. A person may use their name as a means of expressing their gender identity. A name of use may or may not be a person’s legal name.

NAMES IN DISTRICT’S ONLINE STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM:

A student’s “preferred name” in the District’s online student information system is only accessible to staff. A student’s “first name” is accessible to staff as well as the student’s parents/guardians. The student’s “first name” is also used in all written communications to the student’s parents/guardians. See the section titled “Changing names and gender pronouns in District’s online student information system” for further information regarding the difference between changing the student’s “first name” or “preferred name” to the student’s “name of use.”

NON-BINARY:

Preferred umbrella term for all genders other than female/male or woman/man. Non-binary people may have a gender identity that is neither wholly male or female, is in-between, or is beyond gender. Non-binary individuals may identify as agender (without gender), gender-fluid (gender varying over time or based on the circumstances), or pangender (experiencing a variety of masculine, feminine, or androgynous identities).  

PERSONAL GENDER PRONOUNS:

The set(s) of pronouns that a person would like others to use when speaking to or about them. A person may use gender pronouns as a means of expressing their gender identity. Some people may use gendered pronouns such as she/her/hers or he/him/his, while others may use gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them/theirs. Alternatively, people may not use pronouns at all and may use their names instead. For example: “Sam just left the classroom to go to Sam’s locker.”

SEX ASSIGNED AT BIRTH:

The sex (male or female) given to a child at birth, most often based on the child’s external anatomy.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION: 

A person’s romantic and/or physical attraction to people of the same or opposite gender or other genders. Transgender and gender nonconforming people may have any sexual orientation.

TRANSGENDER: 

An adjective describing a person whose gender identity does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth. 

TRANSITION: 

The process in which a person goes from identifying as one gender to identifying as another. Transition is a process that is different for everyone, and it may or may not involve social, legal, or physical changes. There is no one step or set of steps that an individual must undergo in order to have their gender identity affirmed and respected.

GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS

SUPPORTS AND PRIVACY

Parent and family support are key determinants of transgender and nonconforming student health; therefore, staff should provide resources to help families and students locate information, counseling, and support services. 

Schools should involve parents/guardians in the implementation of these guidelines and the process of social transition at school to support the student’s health, safety and well-being, but should first discuss the parental involvement with the student to avoid inadvertently putting the student at risk of harm by contacting the student’s parents/guardians. 

If the student has not informed their parent/guardian of their transgender or gender nonconforming status, the student’s counselor or other school mental health professional will partner with the student to encourage and support the student to discuss their gender identity with their parent/guardian, unless the counselor or other mental health professional, following consultation with the District’s Social-Emotional Learning/Mental Health team (SEL/MH team) or the District’s legal department, determines that such disclosure would be detrimental to the student’s health, safety and/or well-being.

Student Gender Support Plans are designed to support communication throughout the school and District. It is up to the student and/or the student’s parents/guardians (as appropriate) as to whom the plan is shared with, where it is housed and how the information is transferred to the next school or grade level.

When contacting the parent/guardian of a transgender or gender nonconforming student, District employees should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s sex assigned at birth, unless the student, parent, or guardian has specified otherwise in the Gender Support Plan or other documentation. Employees are encouraged to consult with the student and student’s counselor or other school mental health professional if unsure about how best to communicate with the student’s parent/guardian. 

NAME OF USE AND GENDER PRONOUNS:

Students may have a name of use and/or personal gender pronouns that conform with their gender identity. Regardless of whether a transgender or gender nonconforming student has legally changed their name or gender, schools will allow students to use their name of use and personal gender pronouns, so long as such name complies with District policy, including but not limited to Student Code of Conduct policies.

It is recommended that school personnel privately ask transgender or gender nonconforming students how they want to be addressed in class and in the school’s communication with the student’s parents/guardians. 

TRANSITION:

The school shall accept the gender identity that each student asserts. There is no medical or mental health diagnosis or treatment threshold that students must meet in order to have their gender identity recognized and respected. The assertion may be evidenced by an expressed desire to be consistently recognized as the gender that corresponds with their gender identity. 

Students ready to socially transition may initiate a process to change their name, pronoun, attire, and access to preferred programs, activities, and facilities consistent with their gender identity. Each student has a unique process for transitioning. The school shall customize support to optimize each student’s access to the District’s educational programs and activities.

CHANGING NAMES AND GENDER PRONOUNS IN DISTRICT’S ONLINE STUDENT INFORMATION SYSTEM:

A student has two options regarding name changes in the District’s online student information system. The student may choose to change their “preferred name” or their “first name” to their name of use. A student’s “preferred name” in the District’s online student information system is only accessible to staff. A student’s “first name” in the District’s online student information system is accessible to staff as well as the student’s parents/guardians. The student’s “first name” is also used in all written communications to the student’s parents/guardians. 

Regarding changes to gender pronouns, the District’s online student information system currently only allows for “male” or “female” as their chosen gender.

All students, regardless of grade, may change their preferred name to their name of use. A student may change their first name and/or gender pronoun in the District’s online student information system only with the permission of the student’s parent/guardian, unless the student is 18 years of age or older or is emancipated.

To change a student’s first name and/or gender pronoun in the District’s online student information system, the school must obtain the student’s parent/guardian’s permission through email or in writing. Students who are 18 or older or who are emancipated may sign and give written permission for themselves. A name change form is being created and will be linked here.

Students who are 18 or older or emancipated should be made aware that changing their first name to their name of use will change their name in all District communications, including those that go to their parents/guardians (if applicable). This is important to know because some students will not have supportive parents/guardians and therefore may not have informed their parents/guardians of their decision to change their first name to their name of use. In this case, the student’s health, safety and well-being must be considered by school personnel. As discussed above, the student’s counselor or other school mental health professional will partner with the student to encourage and support the student to discuss their gender identity with their parent/guardian, unless the counselor or other mental health professional has reasonable grounds to believe that such disclosure would be detrimental to the student.

OFFICIAL RECORDS:

Once the school receives a request to change the student’s first name to the student’s name of use, efforts will be made to update the student’s education records (such as attendance reports, class rosters for substitutes, school IDs, transcripts, diplomas, electronic records, etc.) with the student’s name of use and gender identity. 

DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES:

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 private information. The fact that a student chooses to use a different name, to transition at school, or to disclose their transgender or gender nonconforming status to District employees or other students does not authorize an employee to disclose a student’s personally identifiable information, unless such disclosure is in accordance with District Policy 5300, Student School Records. 

Information about a student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status, legal name, or sex assigned at birth constitutes confidential personally identifiable information. Disclosing this information to other students or third parties may violate privacy laws, such as the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 

Accordingly, the District and schools will work with students and their families to keep personally identifiable information related to transgender and gender nonconforming status confidential and in accordance with state and federal privacy laws.  

In the rare instance that a school is legally required to disclose a student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status to a third party, the school should provide the student an opportunity to make that disclosure themselves, where practicable. This would include providing the student with any support services the student would need to make the disclosure in a safe and supportive environment.

District employees may also be specifically required by law to report a student’s legal name or sex assigned at birth. In those instances, the District shall take steps to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of this confidential information.

Pursuant to a request by the student’s parent/guardian, records with the student’s birth name and sex assigned at birth will be kept in a separate, confidential file by the District’s legal department.

FACILITIES

RESTROOMS:

Students shall have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a single stall restroom, but no student shall be required to use such a restroom. If the location of a single stall restroom requires students to travel in ways that could delay their timely arrival to school, an accommodation plan will be developed. 

LOCKER ROOMS:

Schools shall make reasonable accommodations to allow students to access the locker room that is consistent with their gender identity. Any reasonable accommodation should be provided in a way that allows the student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status to be kept confidential. In no case shall a student who is transgender or gender nonconforming be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.

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).

ATHLETICS AND ACTIVITIES (INCLUDING PE AND INTRAMURAL SPORTS)

ATHLETICS:

CHSAA Transgender Inclusion Bylaw and Policy

All students shall be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity, in accordance with the guidelines established by the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), which state that a student’s home school will perform a confidential evaluation to determine the gender assignment for the student. In conducting the evaluation, the school shall consult with the District’s legal department.

The student and student’s parent/guardian must notify the school in writing that the student has a gender identity different from their sex assigned at birth and list the sanctioned event(s) in which the student would like to participate. Students may only participate in sports of one gender; non-binary students must select the gender in which they wish to participate. 

PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND INTRAMURAL SPORTS:

All students shall be permitted to participate in physical education classes and intramural sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity. 

GENDER BASED ACTIVITIES:

Students shall be permitted to participate in any gender based activities consistent with their gender identity.

OVERNIGHT ACTIVITY AND ATHLETIC TRIPS:

When planning for overnight stays during an activity or athletic event, the needs of students who are transgender or gender nonconforming will be assessed on a case by case basis and will be driven by the safety and comfort of the student.  

In most cases, a transgender or gender nonconforming student will share accommodations with those who share the student’s gender identity.  Alternate arrangements may need to be made as appropriate.

DRESS CODE:

Students may dress in accordance with their gender identity and expression, including maintaining a gender neutral appearance within the constraints of the District’s student dress code policy. District employees shall not enforce the District’s student dress code policy more strictly against transgender and gender nonconforming students than other students.

HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY

The intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity (for example, intentionally refusing to use a student’s name of use or personal gender pronouns) shall be considered a violation of these guidelines and may be considered a violation of District policy, depending upon the circumstances. 

Further, discriminating against a student based on their gender identity (for example, wrongfully preventing a student’s participation in programs or activities consistent with their gender identity and in accordance with these guidelines) is a violation of federal and state law and District policy.

GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYEES

PRIVACY AND SUPPORTS

District employees have the right to discuss their gender identity or expression openly, or to keep that information private. The employee decides with whom to share the employee’s private information. Information about an employee’s transgender or gender nonconforming staus (such as the sex they were assigned at birth) shall be considered confidential information.

Other employees should not disclose information that may reveal an employee’s transgender or gender nonconforming status to others. That kind of personal information may only be shared with the transgender or gender nonconforming employee’s consent and with coworkers who need to know this information to do their jobs.

GENDER SUPPORT PLANS:  

Gender Support Plans are designed to support the employee in the workplace. An employee who wishes to have a gender support plan may work with the employee’s supervisor or principal in developing and communicating the plan. Alternatively, the employee may choose to work with the District’s Human Resources Partner or Chief Human Resources Officer in developing and communicating the plan. 

OFFICIAL RECORDS/NAMES AND PRONOUNS

Regardless of whether a transgender or gender nonconforming employee has legally changed their name or gender, an employee may request that students and other employees refer to the employee by the employee’s name of use and personal gender pronouns.

The employee’s legal name must be used in the District’s employee database, given the payroll and benefits issues with federal reporting. This legal name is then used in many of the downstream processes and integrations to other systems.  The employee can request an alias by opening a ticket through the IT Service Desk for the systems where they would like the name change reflected, such as their employee ID badge, the District’s online student information system, and other online learning management systems or educational platforms used by the District.  

RESTROOMS

Staff shall have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity.

HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY

The intentional or persistent refusal to respect an employee’s gender identity (for example, intentionally refusing to use an employee’s name of use or personal gender pronouns) shall be considered a violation of these guidelines and may be considered a violation of District policy, depending upon the circumstances. Further, discriminating against an employee based on their gender identity is a violation of federal and state law and District policy.

COMMUNICATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The District shall conduct annual training for teachers, administrators, counselors, social workers, health staff,school registrars, and other school or District staff as needed on their responsibilities under applicable laws, District policy and these guidelines. 

Information regarding these guidelines shall also be incorporated into training for new school employees. 

To the extent funding is available, the District shall implement ongoing professional development to build employees’ skills as a means to further support transgender and gender nonconforming students. The content of such professional development shall include, but not be limited to:

  • terms, concepts, and current developmental understandings of gender identity, gender expression, and gender diversity in children and adolescents;

  • developmentally appropriate strategies for communication with students and their parents/guardians about issues related to gender identity and gender expression that protect student privacy; and

  • classroom-management practices, curriculum, and resources that educators can integrate into their classrooms to help foster a more gender-inclusive environment for all students