South Jr. High School, Quincy, MA
Sterling Middle School, Quincy, MA
Sterling Middle School, Quincy, MA

I have to place this in the insanity files.  Last week the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued a 11-page document (see below) about how public schools were to handle transgendered students.  The document: Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment on the Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity provides little nuggets of *wisdom* like these:

…a school should accept a student’s assertion of his or her gender identity when there is “consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity, or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.” If a student’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior meets this standard, the only circumstance in which a school may question a student’s asserted gender identity is where school personnel have a credible basis for believing that the student’s gender-related identity is being asserted for some improper purpose.

In most situations, determining a student’s gender identity is simple. A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of her life, should be respected and treated like a girl. So too with a student who says he is a boy and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of his life. Such a student should be respected and treated like a boy.

So basically if a student who is a boy consistently claims to be a girl.  That is how they are to treat that boy unless they can somehow prove he has some improper purpose.  “Consistent and uniform” isn’t really defined here… so how long does this boy have to make these claims?  Over several months?  Years? Weeks?  Who knows?

Gee there isn’t anything that could possibly go wrong there!

But the Department states that the statute doesn’t require this either as long as there is other evidence that it is part of their core identity.  They could flip flop and that would be ok as long as…

Confirmation of a student’s asserted gender identity may include a letter from a parent, health care provider, school staff member familiar with the student (a teacher, guidance counselor, or school psychologist, among others), or other family members or friends. A letter from a social worker, doctor, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider stating that a student is being provided medical care or treatment relating to her/his gender identity is one form of confirmation of an asserted gender identity. It is not, however, the exclusive form upon which the school or student may rely. A letter from a clergy member, coach, family friend, or relative stating that the student has asked to be treated consistent with her/his asserted gender identity, or photographs at public events or family gatherings, are other potential forms of confirmation.

How schools are to handle such students.

  • Use whatever name or pronoun that the student identifies with.
  • The birth name if they register for the school under their chosen name is to be considered confidential.
  • They are not even allowed to share with parents/guardians with what “gender identity” their son or daughter uses during the school day without the student’s permission.  “School personnel should speak with the student first before discussing a student’s gender nonconformity or transgender status with the student’s parent or guardian,”
  • Gender markers on student records are to reflect the student’s “gender identity” not “assigned sex.”
  • “In all cases, the principal should be clear with the student (and parent) that the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity.”  Now they can find alternative accommodations like a unisex restroom, etc. if the transgendered student is uncomfortable, not if those around that student are uncomfortable.  Those students are the ones who will need to see counseling – “School administrators and counseling staff should work with students to address the discomfort and to foster understanding of gender identity, to create a school culture that respects and values all students.”
  • All students should be allowed to play whatever sport or intermural activity that is consistent with their “gender identity.”
  • Schools are also encouraged to adopt gender-neutral clothing policies.

I can see this policy as being ripe for abuse, and I would not want my children placed in circumstances such as these.  It is amazing to me that what was considered a psychological disorder not too long ago is now practically being celebrated.  Your biology, not your feelings, determine what gender you are.  This is something that was considered common sense.

 

Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity

Photo Credit: S. Swonk (CC By-SA 3.0)

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