Based on email correspondence from the Olentangy Local School District Superintendent Mark Raiff, the district has developed transgender “guidelines.” These guidelines were only shared internally “following the issuance of new guidance from the US Department of Education and Department of Justice.” Superintendent Mark Raiff states in the email that “As far as board policy, the guidelines support and do not supersede the board policies referenced within the document that prohibit harassment or discrimination based on gender identity.”
The “Transgender Guidelines” document in question states that “A student’s transgender status or gender assigned at birth is not considered directory information and therefore cannot be released without prior consent.” The opening statement continues by stating that school staff “must not disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents and other staff, unless legally required to do so.”
District administration, staff and faculty are “required to maintain legal name and gender assigned at birth on all legal documents and permanent records” until “provided with a legal name change.” The document also states that anything “not considered an official school document should feature the student’s preferred name.”
The Transgender guidelines also address students’ preferred names and pronouns by stating that staff should “use the name and pronoun requested by the student or parent that matches their gender identity.” Names and pronouns should also be changed in the Powerschool roster to “prevent unintentional ‘outing’ of a student’s gender identity.”
In situations where “parents disagree or parents don’t know the student’s gender identity,” the guidelines state that school staff should address the issue in varying ways based on age and grade level. For PreK-5, should staff notice a “possible gender identity expression misaligned with their gender assigned at birth AND it is disruptive to their education,” staff are instructed to “consult with a counselor, social worker, or district employee” in order to “engage in a non-leading discussion with the student.”
For 6th-12th graders, the guidelines state that school staff should “have a discussion with the student first about how to address them (names/ pronouns) with their parents.” It continues by stating that staff “should not out the student to parents unless it is a matter of health and/or safety” and “work with the student to gain confidence to share their identity with their parents.”
The district guidelines regarding bathroom use state that a student “shall have access to facilities that correspond with their gender identity” and students “should NOT be required to use a single-stall restroom alternative.”
None of these new guidelines were presented in a public meeting or voted by school board officials. Therefore, there was no opportunity for public comment or input from the community.