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MVLA looks to pass formal policy protecting rights of transgender students

Rules bar discrimination, require providing access to sports and using correct names and pronouns

Students at Los Alto High School make their way through the halls on their first day back at school last fall. Photo by Adam Pardee

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.

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"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."

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Zoe Morgan covers education, youth and families for the Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Weekly / PaloAltoOnline.com, with a focus on using data to tell compelling stories. A Mountain View native, she has previous experience as an education reporter in both California and Oregon. Read more >>

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MVLA looks to pass formal policy protecting rights of transgender students

Rules bar discrimination, require providing access to sports and using correct names and pronouns

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 25, 2022, 1:07 pm

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."

Comments

papaKuartz
Registered user
Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 25, 2022 at 2:35 pm
papaKuartz, Martens-Carmelita
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Bravo to the MVLA district being brave in this matter. LGBT* kids (and transgender kids in particular) are at high risk of depression, self harm, etc., and if this helps anyone even a little bit then it's well worth it.
This is not about transforming the culture, radical liberalism run amok, etc... it's just helping to let EVERY kid know that NO ONE should feel unsafe or disrespected because of who they are.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2022 at 5:38 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2022 at 5:38 pm

What does this even mean? Everyone has to use the name and pronouns that the student chooses, but the school can't tell anyone about it?


SMB
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jan 26, 2022 at 12:17 pm
SMB, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jan 26, 2022 at 12:17 pm

I am thrilled to read this news! Thank you MVLA for taking a stand and valuing/protecting our LGBTQIA+ students. Often times, students who identify as non-binary or transgender do not have the support of their families at home so school is one place where they can be their authentic selves.


gretchen
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jan 27, 2022 at 2:35 pm
gretchen, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jan 27, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Proud to live in this district. Thanks


Tal Shaya
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Jan 31, 2022 at 1:04 pm
Tal Shaya, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Jan 31, 2022 at 1:04 pm

Not to be trite, but isn't there a student bill of rights already? And shouldn't rights apply to all students equally? If inclusivity is your goal, try harder.


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