New Model School Policy Empowers Transgender Students and Their Families

The new model policy is an updated version of a policy NCTE and GLSEN released in 2013.

In our continuing efforts to make sure every school is a safe and inclusive environment for all students, the National Center for Transgender Equality and GLSEN have released a powerful new resource for educators, students, and families.

The 2018 Model School District Policy on Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students offers guidance and policy language for teachers and administrators to ensure their schools foster safe learning environments for all students, including transgender youth. Drawing on school policies from around the country and numerous federal court rulings, the model policy covers a range of issues, such as bullying, school sports, student privacy, dress codes, and equal access to school facilities.

GLSEN Research shows that transgender youth face a harsh reality in too many of our nation’s schools, with nearly all transgender youth reporting being verbally harassed in school. Furthermore, more than half of transgender students say their school discriminates against them, with 50.9% of transgender students report having been prevented from using their preferred name or pronoun and 60% reporting being forced to use school facilities that don’t match their gender identity.

We also know that having inclusive policies that support the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming students in their school is related to transgender youth reporting less discrimination related to their gender identity.

Originally released in 2013 by GLSEN and NCTE as one of the first transgender-inclusive model school policies in the nation, the updated version released today covers increasingly common questions that school administrators have raised, strengthens and clarifies key policies, and ensures that policies meet the diverse needs of all students, such as:

● Strengthened policy recommendations concerning school records, dress codes, and other key issues
● Incorporated feedback and questions from school administrators
● Clarified how changes in the Federal Government’s positions affect students’ rights

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, gave the following comment:

“As millions of children begin this school year, it’s so important to ensure that each one of them is allowed to reach their fullest potential. Schools have a moral imperative to support, defend, and empower every student in their classrooms. This policy reflects the consensus of education and childcare experts across the nation and gives schools the tried-and-tested tools they need to make sure that their kids thrive.”

Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN, provided the following comment:

“Many schools have been providing transgender students an equal opportunity to learn for many years, without fanfare and without incident. With transgender students facing growing hostility from radical anti-equality forces at the federal, state, and local levels, more schools and school districts must join them and act to ensure that transgender students have a chance to learn free from discrimination and fear. Based on the collective wisdom and growing experience of school administrators, students, families, and educators across the country, this updated policy guidance reflects current understanding of best practices in support of transgender students.”