Broward County Public Schools in Florida has issued a document for teachers on how to treat and refer to students that identify as transgender or nonbinary, including when to conceal the child’s professed gender identity from its parents.
The document, “Transgender and Nonbinary Student Guidelines and Procedures,” informs teachers that “supporting transgender students and families of transgender youth gives young people in our schools the equal opportunity that all students need” according to a report from Red State.
The document then declares that “[t]he expression of transgender identity, or any other form of gender-expansive behavior, is a healthy, appropriate and typical aspect of human development.”
This correlates with the stance of President Joe Biden’s administration, which recently outlined what it says are appropriate so-called “gender-affirming” treatments for youth who identify as transgender.
In similar fashion to the Biden administration, the document states:
Children typically begin expressing their gender identity between the ages of two and four years old. Around this age, transgender children often express their cross-gender identification to their family members or caregivers. However, not all youth who identify as transgender begin the process at an early age; for some, gender identity is a slower, more nuanced process for a variety of personal, social, developmental and societal reasons. Creating a more welcoming environment for students’ gender diversity is a more effective and lasting strategy. Broward County Public Schools is working to develop more gender inclusive environments for all students, knowing that we are also creating more affirming spaces for transgender young people in the process.
Educators are subsequently instructed to make decisions with how to refer to students around their parents by consulting the child privately:
School personnel should privately ask a transgender student how they want to be addressed in communications to the home or at conferences with the student’s parent(s)/ guardian. In addition, prior to notification of any parent(s)/guardian regarding the transition process, school staff should work closely with the student to assess the degree to which, if any, the parent(s)/guardian will be involved in the process and must consider the health, well-being and safety of the transitioning student.
Red State notes that the document also tells teachers to avoid the use of terms like “boys and girls” at risk of alienating students who identify as nonbinary and that in the case of overnight trips where students would be assigned sleeping arrangements based on gender, “the transgender student should be allowed to room with peers that match their gender identity.”
Last month, a group of public school teachers shared during a virtual conference how they often disregard parents’ wishes as regards how a child is addressed in class and that, in some cases, the school district will fully support a teacher’s position in this regard.
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