New York City Public Schools has a policy titled “Guidelines to Support Transgender and Gender Expansive Students.” The policy states that “all schools have transgender and gender expansive students—the goal is for these students to feel comfortable enough at school to be open about who they are.” The policy then states that parents can be left in the dark regarding the gender identity of their children:
School staff must keep in mind that transgender and gender expansive youth may experience significant family challenges. Some transgender students have not talked to their parents about their gender identity and/or do not want their parents to know about their transgender status or gender expansive identity based on safety concerns or concerns about a lack of acceptance. These situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis, accounting for the student’s age and maturity, and will require schools to balance the goal of supporting the student with the requirement that parents be kept informed about their children.
The policy adds that “the student is in charge of their gender transition and the school’s role is to provide support.” School staff members can have meetings with students regarding their transition. The policy then states: “The parent may be at this meeting, except where there are safety or other concerns as set forth above.”
The policy then mandates school staff to use the preferred pronouns and names of students. Parents do not need to be involved in this decision. The policy states:
Students are not required to obtain parental consent or a court-ordered name and/or gender change before being addressed by the name and pronoun that they choose.” Refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns and name “is unacceptable conduct.” The policy also adds: “All school-based health staff, including nurses, doctors, or other school-based health center staff, must use the name and pronoun that reflect a student’s gender identity.
Students are also allowed to use their preferred restrooms and locker rooms. The policy states: “For students who are gender fluid, the school should work with the student to facilitate restroom and locker room access that affirms their identity.” The policy also states that transgender issues will be added into the curriculum taught to students: “Schools should ensure curricula are inclusive, for example, by incorporating identity in history, reading books by diverse authors, and ensuring sexual health curriculum is inclusive of all identities.”
The policy additionally mandates that “schools should use gender-neutral language in letters/notices and emails, lessons, websites, and other written materials to the class or school community.” This means schools should no longer say “boys and girls” or “his/her.” Alternatives are provided such as “dear students” and “each student.”