Brighton Central Schools
3000 - Community Relations
3000 TRANSGENDER AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING
Last Updated Date: 06/15/2021
Adoption Date: 09/08/2015
The Brighton Central School District is committed to providing a safe learning and work environment for all students and adults, including transgender and gender identity students and employees, and to ensuring that every student and employee has equal access to the District’s programs, activities, and systems. Additionally, District policy requires that all school buildings and all personnel promote mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance among students and staff free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender nonconformity, and gender expression.
This policy and its procedure will support that effort by facilitating District compliance with local, state and federal laws concerning harassment, intimidation, bullying and discrimination. Accommodations for transgender students will be made on a case-by-case basis and will be based upon the specific circumstances at issue
For the purposes of this policy, the District defines certain terms, not as labels, but as functional descriptors meant to promote common understanding:
Cisgender: A person whose gender identity corresponds to their assigned sex at birth.
Biological Sex/Sex: This refers to a person’s internal and external anatomy, chromosomes and hormones.
Gender Identity: Describes a person’s inner sense or psychological knowledge, understanding, interests, outlook, and feelings about being female, male, neither, or both.
Gender Expression: Describes the ways a person conveys their gender identity to others, such as through behaviors, appearance, mannerisms, hairstyle, clothing, and activities.
Transgender: Describes a person whose gender identity is different from their gender assigned at birth. A student or staff member may self-identify as transgender, but this policy establishes criteria that must be met for the District to formally recognize this change.
Gender Non-Conforming (GNC): Describes a person whose gender identity or gender expression does not conform to social or stereotypical expectations of a person with that gender assigned at birth. This is also referred to as gender variant or gender atypical.
Transition: the process by which a person socially or physically aligns their gender expression more closely to their gender identity than their assigned sex at birth.
Harassment & Bullying
As full participants and welcome members of the school community, transgender and gender non-conforming students and employees shall not be subject to harassment or bullying. All members of the school community have an affirmative obligation to create an environment that promotes mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance among students and staff; and administrators shall investigate and respond to any allege instances of harassment or bullying consistent with the procedures set forth in the District’s Dignity for All Students and Anti-Harassment Policies.
Issues of Privacy
The District recognizes that the process of determining one’s gender identity requires sensitivity and discretion and, to the greatest extent possible, status as transgender or gender non-conforming will be kept confidential. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the student’s/employee’s privacy interests must be balanced against the obligation of school administrators to provide a safe, effective and nurturing learning environment and to keep staff members properly informed so they may respond effectively and appropriately to issues arising in the school.
Information about a student's gender status, legal name, or gender assigned at birth may constitute confidential medical or educational information. Disclosing this information to other students, their parents, or other third parties may violate privacy laws, such as the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. §1232; 34 C.F.R. Part 99). Therefore, school personnel shall not disclose an employee’s or student’s transgender or gender non-conforming status to third persons, including, but not limited to, other students, parents, and/or other school personnel, unless (1) legally required to do so (2) the student/employee has authorized such disclosure or (3) as otherwise consistent with this policy. Except as set forth herein, personnel and students, including transgender and gender non-conforming employees and students, shall be afforded the discretion to discuss and express their gender identity and gender expression and to decide when, with whom, and how much information to share with others.
Official School Records (Students)
As required by law, the District will maintain the confidentiality of student information and records. If a transgender or GNC student has officially changed his or her name, as demonstrated by court order or birth certificate, the District will change its official and unofficial records, as needed, to reflect the change. The District will maintain records with the student's assigned birth name in a separate, confidential file.
If a transgender or GNC student has not officially changed his or her name, but wishes to be referred to by a different name that corresponds to their gender identity, the District may create or change both official and unofficial records to reflect the name and gender identity that the student consistently asserts at school.
When necessary to ensure appropriate and coordinated medical care, however, the District will use the student's legal name and gender. Any student identification cards will be issued with the name reflecting the gender identity the student consistently asserts at school. The District will maintain records with the student's assigned birth name and gender in a separate, confidential file.
Names & Pronouns
When apprised of a student's transgender or GNC status, the District will endeavor to engage the student and his or her parents or guardians, as appropriate, in an effort to agree upon a plan that will accommodate the student's individual needs at school. Transgender and GNC students have the right to discuss and convey their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share this confidential information. The plan may therefore include when and how to initiate the student's preferred name and associated pronoun use and if, when, and how this is communicated to others. District staff will use the name and pronoun that corresponds to the gender identity the student consistently asserts at school. A student is not required to change their official records or obtain a court-ordered name and/or gender change as a prerequisite to being addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity. When communicating with transgender or gender nonconforming students regarding particular issues such as conduct, discipline, grades, attendance or health, school employees will focus on the conduct or particular issues rather than making assumptions regarding the student’s actual or perceived gender identity. When communicating with parents of transgender or gender nonconforming students, school employees will refrain from the use of gender pronouns and refer to the student by name whenever practicable. The District will not condone the intentional and persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity, or inappropriate release of information regarding a student’s transgender status.
When apprised of an employee’s transgender or GNC status, the District will endeavor to engage the staff member, in an effort to agree upon a plan that will accommodate the employee’s individual needs at the district. Transgender and GNC employees have the right to discuss and convey their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share this confidential information. District personnel and students will use the name and pronoun that corresponds to the gender identity the employee consistently asserts at school.
Use of restrooms by transgender or gender nonconforming students will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of ensuring the student’s safety. No student will be required to use a restroom that conflicts with his or her gender identity, and transgender or gender nonconforming students may be provided use of a gender neutral alternative in some cases. Accessibility will be provided to support student safety based on each student’s individual need.
Any transgender or GNC person requesting increased privacy or other accommodations when using bathrooms or locker rooms will reasonably be provided with a safe and adequate alternative, but they will not be required to use that alternative.
Locker Room Accessibility
Use of locker rooms by transgender or gender nonconforming students will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of maximizing transgender or gender nonconforming student social integration, providing an equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes and athletic opportunities and ensuring the student’s safety. Reasonable alternatives to locker room conditions may include, but are not limited to:
- use of a private area (e.g., nearby restroom stall with a door, an area separated by a curtain, an office in the locker room, or a nearby health office restroom);
- a separate changing schedule (i.e., utilizing the locker room before or after the other students.
Any alternative to locker room conditions will be provided in a manner that allows the student to keep his or her transgender or gender nonconforming status private. No student, however, will be required to use a locker room that conflicts with his or her gender identity.
Participation in Physical Education Classes & Interscholastic Sports (Students)
To the fullest extent permitted by law, transgender and gender-non-conforming students are to be provided the same opportunities to participate in physical education as all other students. To the extent that physical education classes may be organized in gender-specific groups, transgender students shall be entitled to participate with the group that corresponds to their gender identity asserted at school. Gender non-conforming students shall participate with the group that corresponds to his/her sex at birth. Notwithstanding the foregoing, physical education teachers shall have the discretion to group students to accommodate specific student needs and the learning goals of the lesson.
Upon written notification that a transgender or GNC student would like an opportunity to participate in the District's interscholastic athletics program consistent with his or her gender identity, the District will determine his or her eligibility in accordance with applicable law, regulations, and guidelines including those of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHAA). The District will confirm the student's asserted gender identity consistent with NYSPHAA rules and requirements. The student's gender identity should be the same as the identity used for District registration and other school purposes.
The District's athletic director will notify opposing team athletic directors or the New York State Public High School Athletic Association if a student needs any accommodations during competitions. The District’s athletic director shall also attempt to make reasonable accommodations, consistent with this policy, for transgender or gender non-conforming students on visiting teams who require access to bathrooms and locker room facilities at District-owned schools.
Any appeal regarding the District's eligibility decision will be directly to the Commissioner of Education.
Field Trips (Students)
The principal or his/her designee shall make arrangements on a case-by-case basis and to the greatest extent practicable to accommodate transgender or gender non-conforming students who plan to attend an overnight field trip that includes hotel or room-sharing accommodations.
Generally, in other circumstances where students or staff may be sex-segregated, such as overnight field trips or conferences, students and employees may be permitted to participate in accordance with the gender identity that they consistently asserts at school. Privacy concerns will be addressed individually and on a case-by-case basis in accordance with District policy and applicable law, regulations, and guidelines.
Transgender and gender non-conforming students and employees may dress in accordance with their gender identity or expression, provided that their clothing is consistent with the Code of Conduct. The District will not restrict students’ clothing or appearance on the basis of gender.
The District’s dress code applies while its athletes are traveling to and from athlete contests. Athletes will have access to uniforms that are appropriate for their sport.
Other School Activities
In any school activity or other circumstance involving separation by gender (i.e., class discussions, field trips), students will be permitted to participate in accordance with the gender identity they assert at school. Overnight accommodations for transgender or gender nonconforming students will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of maximizing transgender or gender nonconforming student social integration and ensuring the student’s safety. Teachers and other school employees will make every effort to separate students based on factors other than gender where practicable.
Discrimination and Harassment Complaints
Discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression are prohibited within the District. It is the responsibility of each school, the District and all staff to ensure that all students, including transgender and gender non-conforming students, have a safe school environment. The scope of this responsibility includes ensuring that any incident of discrimination or harassment is given immediate attention and/or reported to the school building’s Dignity Act Coordinator.
Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on a person’s actual or perceived gender identity or expression are to be taken seriously and handled in the same manner as other discrimination and/or harassment complaints. This includes investigating the incident and taking age and developmentally-appropriate corrective action. Anyone may file a complaint alleging a violation of this policy using the complaint process outlined in the District’s Procedures and Standards Governing Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying in accordance with Board Policy 7550.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g
34 CFR Part 99
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Education Law Article 2 and §§ 2-d, 11(7), 3201-a
8 NYCRR § 100.2