Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth
Federal and state law and District policy require that all programs, activities, and employment practices be free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. This policy is designed in keeping with these mandates to create a safe learning environment for all students and to ensure that every student has equal access to all school programs and activities.
This policy sets out guidelines for schools and District staff to address the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming students and clarifies how state law should be implemented in situations where questions may arise about how to protect the legal rights or safety of such students. This policy does not anticipate every situation that might occur with respect to transgender or gender non-conforming students and the needs of each transgender or gender non-conforming student must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, the goal is to ensure the safety, comfort, and healthy development of the transgender or gender non-conforming student while maximizing the student's social integration and minimizing stigmatization of the student.
The definitions provided here are not intended to label students but rather to assist in understanding this policy and the legal obligations of District staff. It is recognized that students might or might not use these terms to describe themselves.
"Gender identity" is a person's deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth. One's gender identity can be the same or different than the gender assigned at birth. Everyone has a gender identity.
"Transgender" describes people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with an assigned sex at birth.
"Gender expression" refers to the manner a person represents or expresses gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, or mannerisms.
"Gender non-conforming" describes people whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as "feminine" boys, "masculine" girls, and those who are perceived as androgynous. This includes people who identify outside traditional gender categories or identify both genders.
"Cisgender" refers to individuals whose gender identity, expression, or behavior conforms with those typically associated with their sex assigned at birth.
"Gender Fluid" may be a form of both gender identity and gender expression. It generally describes individuals who may not identify as the same gender all the time, and whose gender expression may change accordingly.
"Gender Minority" is an umbrella term referring to individuals not identifying as cisgender.
"Gender Transition" is the process in which a person changes their gender expression to better reflect their gender identity. In order to feel comfortable and to express their gender identity to other people, transgender people may take a variety of steps such as using a nickname or legally changing their name; choosing clothes and hairstyles to reflect their gender identity; and generally living and presenting themselves to others, consistently with their gender identity. Some, but not all, transgender people take hormones or undergo surgical procedures to change their bodies to better reflect their gender identity. Transitioning may or may not include changing identity documents (e.g., driver's license, Social Security record) to reflect one's gender identity.
“Bullying” is an act that is direct or indirect and severe, persistent or pervasive, which (A) causes physical or emotional harm to an individual, (B) places an individual in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm, or (C) infringes on the rights or opportunities of an individual at school.
Bullying shall include, but not be limited to, a written, oral, or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.
"Harassment" means written, verbal or physical conduct that adversely affects the ability of one or more students to participate in or benefit from the school's educational programs or activities because the conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive. This includes conduct that is based on a student's actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity or expression, or religion. This also includes conduct that targets a student because of a characteristic of a friend, family member or other person or group with whom a student associates.
All persons, including students, have a right to privacy. This includes the right to keep private one's transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation at school. Information about a student's transgender status, legal name, or gender assigned at birth also may constitute confidential medical information. School personnel should not disclose information that may reveal a student's transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation to others, including parents and other school personnel, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure. Transgender and
gender non-conforming students have the right to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information. If a school is legally required to disclose a student’s transgender status, the school should provide the student an opportunity to make that disclosure themselves,
where practicable. This would include providing the student with any support services the student would need to make the disclosure in a safe and supportive environment.
When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender or gender non-conforming student, school personnel should use the student's legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student's gender assigned at birth unless the student, parent, or guardian has specified otherwise.
Transgender and gender nonconforming youth use a number of words to describe their lives and gendered experiences such as trans, transgender, nonbinary, trans boy, or trans girl. Terminology and language describing transgender individuals can differ based on region, language, race or ethnicity, age, culture, and many other factors. School personnel should employ those terms which the students use to describe themselves and avoid terms that make students uncomfortable.
The District is required to maintain a mandatory permanent student record (''official record") that includes a student's legal name and legal gender. However, the District is not required to use a student's legal name and gender on other school records or documents. The District recognizes, under FERPA, that a student has the right to request the school to change his/her name and gender on such student's school records if the student, or parent/guardian in cases where the student is under 18 years of age, believe the records are incorrect, misleading, or violate a student's privacy. In situations where school staff or administrators are required by law to use or to report a transgender student's legal name or gender, such as for purposes of standardized testing, school staff and administrators shall adopt practices to avoid the inadvertent disclosure of such confidential information.
Upon such a request, schools should correct student education records to accurately reflect the student's chosen name and gender identity, regardless of whether the student has completed a legal name change.
A student has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to the student's gender identity. A court-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student need not change his or her official records.
The intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student's gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to the student by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student's gender identity) is a violation of this policy.
Some transgender and gender-nonconforming youth may feel most comfortable being addressed by gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” or “ze” or just referred to by their names (without pronouns).
If the student has previously been known at school by a different name, the school administration will direct school personnel to use the student’s chosen name and appropriate pronouns.
To the extent possible, schools should reduce or eliminate the practice of segregating students by gender. In situations where students are segregated by gender, such as for selected health education classes, students should be included in the group that corresponds to their gender identity.
Student Information Systems
The District shall modify its student information system, as necessary, to prevent disclosure of confidential information and ensure that school personnel use a student's preferred name and pronouns consistent with the student's gender identity.
Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school. Any student who has a need or desire for increased
privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided access to a single-user restroom. However, no student shall be required to use such a restroom because they are transgender or gender non-conforming.
Locker Room Accessibility
The use of locker rooms by transgender students shall be assessed on a case-by-case basis with the goals of maximizing the student's social integration and equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes and sports, ensuring the student's safety and comfort, and minimizing stigmatization of the student. In most cases, transgender students should have access to the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity consistently asserted at school, like all other students. Any student, transgender or not, who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, should be provided with a reasonable alternative changing area such as the use of a private area (e.g., a nearby restroom stall with a door, an area separated by a curtain, a P.E. instructor's office in the locker room, or a nearby health office restroom), or with a separate changing schedule (e.g., using the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity before or after other students). Any alternative arrangement should be provided in a way that protects the student's ability to keep his or her transgender status confidential. In no case shall a transgender student be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the student's gender identity.
Physical Education Classes & Intramural Sports
Transgender and gender non-conforming students shall be permitted to participate in physical education classes and intramural sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity.
Interscholastic Competitive Sports Teams
Transgender and gender non-conforming students shall be permitted to participate in interscholastic athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity and in compliance with the applicable regulations of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAC).
Transgender and gender non-conforming students have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression. In general, District schools may not adopt dress codes that restrict students' clothing or appearance on the basis of gender.
It is the responsibility of each school and the District to ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming students have a safe school environment. This includes ensuring that any incident of discrimination, harassment, or violence is given immediate attention, including investigating the incident, taking appropriate corrective action, and providing students and staff with appropriate resources.
Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment based on a person's actual or perceived transgender status or gender nonconformity are to be handled in the same manner as other discrimination or harassment complaints.
Transferring a Student to Another School (Opportunity Transfers)
In general, schools should aim to keep transgender and gender non-conforming students at the original school site. Opportunity transfers should not be a school's first response to harassment and should be considered only when necessary for the protection or personal welfare of the transferred student, or when requested by the student or the student's parent/guardian. The student or the student's parent or guardian must consent to any such transfer.
The Board of Education directs the Superintendent to provide for the training of District staff in transgender sensitivity, in what it means to treat all people respectfully and equally. Developmentally age-appropriate training shall also be provided for students.
(cf. 0521 - Nondiscrimination)
(cf. 4000.1 - Title IX)
(cf. 4131 - Professional Development)
(cf. 5114 - Suspension and Expulsion/Due Process)
(cf. 5125 - Student Records; Confidentiality)
(cf. 5131 - Conduct)
(cf. 5131.21 - Threats or Acts of Violence)
(cf. 5131.91 - Hazing)
(cf. 5131.911 - Bullying)
(cf. 5144 - Discipline)
(cf. 5145.4 - Nondiscrimination)
(cf. 5145.5 - Sexual Harassment)
(cf. 5145.6 - Student Grievance Procedure)
(cf. 6121 - Nondiscrimination)
(cf. 6121.1 - Equal Educational Opportunity)
Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes
1-1n "Gender identity or expression" defined.
10-15c Discrimination in public school prohibited.
(Amended by P.A. 97-247 to include "sexual orientation" and PA 11-55 to include "gender identity or expression")
10-222g Prevention and intervention strategy re bullying and teen dating violence as amended by PA 19-166.
46a-58(a) Deprivation of rights. Desecration of property. Placing of burning cross or noose on property. Penalty.
46a-60 Discriminatory employment practices prohibited Federal Law.
46a-64(a)(1)(2) Discriminatory public accommodations practices prohibited. Penalty.
10-209 Records not to be public.
46a-60 Discriminatory employment practices prohibited.
Section 504 and the Federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 20 U.S.C. 706(7)(b).
Public Act 07-62 An Act Concerning the Deprivation of Rights on Account of Sexual Orientation.
Public Act 11-55 An Act Concerning Discrimination.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 34 CPR Section 106.
Meritor Savings Bank. FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57 (1986).
Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, No. 97-282 (U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 1998).
Burlington Industries, Inc. v. Ellerth, No. 97-569, (U.S. Supreme Court, June 26,1998).
Gebbser v. Lago Vista Indiana School District, No. 99-1866, (U.S. Supreme Court, June 26,1998).
Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, No. 97-843 (U.S. Supreme Court, May 24, 1999).
Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g
"Guidance on Civil Rights Protections and Supports for Transgender Students," Connecticut State Department of Education, September 2017
Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S.Ct. 1731, 2020 WL3146686 (June 15, 2020)
January 11, 2022
HAMDEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
September 12, 2017