On December 7, 2023, the school committee for Barrington Public Schools will be voting on a potential transgender policy to adopt for the school district. The draft policy is titled “Gender Support and Inclusion Policy for Transgender, Gender-Diverse, and Transitioning Students.” This draft policy explains that the school district can assist secondary students in transitioning to another gender without the knowledge of parents. The policy states:
In these circumstances, the school administration will ask the superintendent for direction on how to proceed, as soon as the secondary student makes the requests for non-disclosure to a parent or guardian. If the administration in collaboration with the superintendent determines that notifying the family carries risks for the student, they should work closely with the student to assess the degree to which, if any, the family will be involved in the process and must consider the age, health, well-being, and safety of the student.
The policy mandates that teachers use the preferred pronouns of students: “Students shall be addressed by school staff using the name and pronouns corresponding to their gender identity.” Students are allowed to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities that match their preferred gender identity. Students are also allowed to participate in physical education and sports according to their preferred gender identity.
The draft policy further explains that gender ideology will be implemented into the curriculum for students and training for teachers in the future: “Education and training about gender diversity shall be incorporated into the curriculum at developmentally appropriate levels and staff development.”
The draft policy is also accompanied by a gender support plan for students, which may not “be revealed to the family.” The description of the gender support plan claims that it “aims to create a shared understanding of how the student’s authentic gender will be accounted for and supported at school.” The plan specifically asks if parents will be involved in the process. Another question on the plan asks: “If the student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) are not aware and supportive of the child’s gender status, how will school-home communications be handled?” The plan mentions that it was adopted from the organization Gender Spectrum.
The organization Gender Spectrum previously offered resources specifically targeting “youth” and even teachers. Gender Spectrum offered resources to educators on a page titled “Integrating Gender Diversity Into Everyday Curriculum.” This page explained that the discussion of gender can be integrated into subjects like history, science, mathematics, and even physical education. In targeting the youth, Gender Spectrum offered online chatrooms for children as young as 10 years old who identify as “trans” or “non-binary.”