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Board reviews D65 gender support policy

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Evanston District 65 School Board members voiced support Monday for a staff-developed gender support procedure that’s designed to protect transgender and gender-expansive employees and students.

A report on the program was presented at the virtual board meeting by Beatrice Davis, assistant superintendent of human resources, Romy DeCristofaro, executive director of special services and Joaquin Stephenson, director of equity and family/community engagement.

The policy outlines procedures for employees to request that their name or gender identifiers be changed in personnel files and other district records and specifies that they don’t have to obtain a court-ordered name change for that, or to change the pronouns used in referring to them to ones that reflect their individual gender identity.

The policy also outlines how the district is to support employees who gender transition while on the job.

It also specifies that they “shall have access to the restroom and locker room facilities that correspond with their gender identity regardless of the employee’s sex assigned at birth.”

And it says, “The discomfort of other employees is not a reason to deny a transgender employee access to a restroom.”

The student gender support policy says it will “address the needs and concerns of transgender and gender expansive students to ensure safe, affirming and healthy school environments” that are “free of discrimination, harassment and bullying.”

The policy outlines a procedure for developing a support plan for such students and determining whether and how to involve parents in the development of the plan.

It calls for providing access for students “to gendered facilities and school-sponsored programs that are consistent with the student’s gender identity. This includes, but is not limited to, access to multi-stalled gendered restrooms, locker rooms and school programs, trips and athletic programs.”

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