BOE reviews gender policies

Colm Slevin

On Feb. 4 the BOE held a reading for the state mandate on the policies Westfield Schools will enact regarding transgender and gender nonconforming students.

The policy, The Transgender Student Guidance, focuses on streamlining the process after a student comes out as transgender or gender nonconforming.

Part of the policy includes asking if the student wants to have their parents informed of their new gender identity, as well as informing all teachers to update their attendance sheets with the student’s chosen gender identity. It also allows transgender students to use bathrooms and join gender segregated teams in accordance with their gender identity.

According to this policy, “The intended purpose of this guidance is to help school and district administrators take steps to create an inclusive environment in which transgender and gender nonconforming students feel safe and supported, and to ensure that each school provides equal educational opportunities for all students.”

With the second and final reading of the policy scheduled for March 10, Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan feels confident in the policy discussed. “Some of our counselors have gone through additional training and will continue to work with our staff,” Dr. Dolan said.

“While [the policy] regarding transgender students is newly mandated by the state, the issue is not new,” said Dr. Dolan. “The district has worked successfully over the years with transgender students and their families and we will continue to do so.”