Minnesota Ed. Dept Issues ‘Transgender Toolkit’ Guide for Educators

Annabel Scott | July 26, 2017 | 12:21pm EDT
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(Image: CNN.com) 

(CNSNews.com) -- The Minnesota Department of Education approved a “transgender toolkit” plan that allows male students who identify as women to use the girl’s bathroom, advises schools to refrain from assuming a student’s name or pronoun, and gives alternate titles to replace gender specific terms.

The ten-page report, A Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, was created by a Minnesota School Safety Technical Assistance Council work group to “create school environments where transgender and gender nonconforming students are safe, supported and fully included, and have equal access to the educational opportunities provided to all students.”

The report begins by stating that “gender identity does not correlate with sexual orientation,” giving educators definitions of four gender terms and how to differentiate between them.

The report also advises educators to use a “Gender Spectrum's Student Gender Transition Plan” as a resource to help students and parents “actively discuss transition."

In addition, the report also states that, “during transition, diverse and unique needs may arise.”

“Racial, cultural, economic, religious or other factors influence the transition experience, the student and family choices and decisions,” it reads. “For example, a transgender or gender nonconforming student’s family who does not speak English may need a translator or interpreter who understands and knows key terminology to properly support the student and the student’s family.”

The report warns that although a student’s gender and pronouns are not considered public or directory information, teachers and educators that use an “incorrect” pronoun when referring to a student are violating The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and are in danger of legal repercussion.

“Schools should not assume a student’s name or pronoun. School officials should ask the student and use the requested name and pronouns,” says the report. “Students need not provide schools with legal documents to correct their first name or gender within their student records.”

In order to “be more inclusive,” teachers and educators are also advised to address students as “students” and “scholars” as opposed to “boys and girls.”

In regard to school-sponsored athletics, the report cites Title IX, stating that students have the right to participate in any sport that is “consistent with their gender identity.”

When When it comes to homecoming and prom, Minnesota schools are encouraged to “revisit existing traditions” and nominate “prom ambassadors,” “homecoming court,” or “homecoming royalty” instead of a homecoming king or queen.

The report also states that students should not be disciplined for wearing clothing that “fails to conform to perceptions of gender-based stereotypes.”

Transgender Jazz Jennings and her transgender action doll.  (Photo: CNN.com) 

Students who claim to be transgender or gender non-conforming will also be allowed to use the restroom and locker room of their choice. Students who feel uncomfortable sharing a restroom or locker room with transgender or gender nonconforming students will be “provided a private space, such as a single-user restroom.”

In addition, when traveling for athletic or educational activities, students who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming are allowed to room with peers that match the students’  “gender identity.”

State representative Tim Miller (R-Minn.), who is actively fighting against this measure, told Fox and Friends that the plan is not supported by the people of Minnesota.

“There is a social agenda and my concern is that the responsibility of schools is to ensure the safety and privacy of all students,” said Miller. “When you have an agenda like this that is being pushed in the state for a very small and distinct group, you are not serving the broader base of all the students.”

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