Saline Area Schools in Michigan has a policy in place for students titled “Transgender and Nonbinary Students” that is dated October 12, 2021. The district states in the policy that “supportive environments that acknowledge and affirm a student’s identity is a protective factor that improves health and educational outcomes.” The district explicitly explains in the policy that parents can be kept in the dark regarding the gender identity of their children:
In general, school staff shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including the student’s parents or guardians and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.
The district continues to explain: “When contacting the parent or guardian of a transgender or nonbinary student, school staff 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.”
Teachers are also mandated to use the preferred pronouns and names of students. The district recommends staff to “privately ask transgender or nonbinary students how they want to be addressed in class and in the school’s communication with the student’s parents or guardians.”
Students can additionally use the restrooms and locker rooms of their choosing: “With respect to all restrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities, students shall have access to facilities that correspond to their gender identity.” Students will also be allowed to “participate in physical education classes and intramural sports in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”
The district further explains in the policy that the curriculum taught to students should also be changed to be “inclusive of LGBTQ people” and cites the organization GLSEN as a source. The district states:
Research shows that LGBTQ students who attend schools with curriculum that is inclusive of LGBTQ people, history, and events experience a better school climate and improved academic outcomes. Curriculum serves as a mirror when it reflects individuals and their experiences back to themselves. At the same time, curriculum serves as a window when it introduces and provides the opportunity to understand the experiences and perspectives of those who possess different identities (GLSEN’s Four Supports).
The organization GLSEN is known for promoting LGBTQ issues to young children. GLSEN states on its website that “while many LGBTQ+-inclusive school supports begin in middle or high school, it is critical for elementary schools to establish a foundation of respect and understanding for all people.” The organization has also appeared to show support for children taking “hormone replacement therapy” to transition to another gender:
Upon birth, we are typically categorized into one of two genders (boy or girl) depending on how our genitals are read. Throughout our lives, however, our many bodily characteristics work together to create a unique path of development, causing some of us to grow really tall, and others to remain short, or some of us to grow hair under our armpits and legs, while others remain bare. While this development often happens on its own during puberty, this change can also be administered through medicine, such as hormone replacement therapy. Since our society often conflates our bodies (or genitalia) with our gender identity, it is critical that we allow space for people to self-identify.