Confusion: Coming to a School Near You

Confusion: Coming to a School Near You

by Diane Robertson

The Charlotte, North Carolina school district has established new guidelines concerning transgender students that will mostly go into effect when school starts Aug. 29th. The guidelines said to prevent bullying are definitely confusing.

How is this Confusing?

First of all, teachers and staff are required to call transgender students by their preferred name and use their preferred gender. However, teachers are told not to use the words ‘girl’ and ‘boy’.

Second, teachers and staff are required to call transgender students by their preferred name, but they are not allowed to give other teachers and staff that information unless the teacher or staff is working directly with the student.

Third, the student’s official records will contain the birth gender and name of the student. That information is what is sent to each teacher. Teacher’s will then somehow have to figure out what a student wants to be called without asking. Teachers are told not to ask students about their gender identity as that is considered bullying.

Fourth, Teachers are not allowed to inform parents about a student’s change in identity except under certain circumstances.

Fifth, the students are not to be called ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ anymore, however, the guidelines insist that transgender student are supposed to decide whether or not they are a girl or a boy. How can students determine their gender when there is supposed to be no gender?

Sixth, teachers are instructed not to recognize gender, but the school is maintaining a gendered dress code, and other gendered classes and activities that transgendered students can choose from, such as: “single gender classes, classroom structure/management, school ceremonies, school photos, extracurricular activities, and overnight field trips.”

Seventh, the guidelines suggest that gendered activities and classes should have a “Clear and sound pedagogical purpose,” yet then it goes on to say that teachers and staff must “allow transgender students to participate in all school traditions, including sex-separated traditions…”. So the traditions and gendered activities stay?

The guidelines are confusing and don’t make much sense. How is a teacher supposed to follow all the guidelines when they cannot say ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ but must discover the “gender identity” of each of their students and change their records accordingly? It seems that boys who believe they are boys and girls who believe they are girls are not allowed to be referred to as boys or girls, yet the boys who believe they are girls and the girls who believe they are boys can insist on being called boys and girls. It’s like some deranged opposite day all year long. Students can only have a gender if it is the opposite of what their birth certificates say. And teachers must figure out who is participating and who is not in this year-long opposite while trying not to communicate with each other, the parents, or the students.

Unfortunately, with the Obama-administration’s school bathroom and confusing gender policy, these guidelines will likely spread across the nation.

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