The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District is looking to codify rights and protections for transgender students with a formal policy that the board of trustees reviewed at a Monday, Jan. 24 meeting.
The Gender Identity and Access policy and accompanying administrative regulation aim to ensure that transgender and gender expansive students have equal access to the school district's programs and services. The board is expected to formally approve the policy and regulation at its next meeting.
The new rules explicitly bar discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. They also instruct schools to use a student's correct name and pronouns, and require that students are allowed to participate in sports and activities, and have access to school facilities like locker rooms and restrooms, consistent with their gender identity.
The regulations also state that students have a right to privacy when it comes to their gender identity, and bar school officials from disclosing that information to anyone – including parents, other students and school staff – unless the student authorizes it or in specific circumstances.
The district's high schools already follow these procedures relatively closely, but district officials wanted to formalize current practices with an official policy, Associate Superintendent Teri Faught said in an interview.
"We want to make sure that our students understand that we care about them and that these are their rights," Faught said. "By elevating it to a policy, it really allows us to make that statement. It also holds us accountable."
When the board reviewed drafts of the new rules at Monday's meeting, trustee Phil Faillace offered specific edits on the proposals. That included asking to remove a clause which stated that "western society traditionally recognized only two genders" and requesting clarifications on how discrimation that occurs outside of the school day would be handled.
Faillace also asked district staff to gather information about which parts of the policy and regulation are required by state law, which are recommended and which are additional requirements that the district chose to add. Despite his feedback, Faillace signaled support for the proposal.
"I'm glad we're tackling this," Faillace said. "I think it puts us ahead of the game and I think it's long overdue."