Help us make school policy more inclusive for LGBTI+ learners at Alfriston College.

Help us make school policy more inclusive for LGBTI+ learners at Alfriston College.

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High school is a challenging time for all learners, it can be even more difficult for learners who identify as LGBTQI+.

According to a study done by the University of Auckland: nearly one in five transgender students experience bullying at school on a weekly (or more frequent) basis – this is nearly five times higher than the proportion of students who are cisgender. Having an inclusive policy means that learners and learning leaders are aware of their rights and responsibilities within Alfriston and have a guideline to work from in situations regarding gender and sexuality.

If our school, Alfriston College does not specifically provide for students needs, it makes it even more difficult for students to come to school. Currently, at Alfriston, there is not a policy that considers the needs of LGBTI+ students, and because of this, learning leaders and other members of staff can use their own values and beliefs to judge what students are permitted to do.

The only existing policy that comes close to making school more inclusive is the Equity Policy. This policy focuses on three areas of school life to ensure that it leads to equitable outcomes for learners:

  • All learners will have access to the national curriculum, regardless of race, religion, gender or disability.
  • Every endeavour will be made to ensure that learners are not subject to discrimination.
  • Learners are treated with respect to their ethnic background.

There are then guidelines, which state how this is principle will be met. Some of these include having diverse role models in school and ensuring that teachers are aware of cultural backgrounds.

We want to change the equity policy so that it is more inclusive and specific.

Currently, the equity policy lacks any mention of sexuality, sex, or gender. There is much more to a person than just their ethnicity, race or culture.

We want to add new guidelines, such as ensuring that sexuality, gender and sex are taken into account for equity goals and further policy.

We also want to make existing guidelines like 'being aware of the cultural background of learner' to become more inclusive, changing the guideline to 'being aware of the background of a learner, which includes their race, religion, sexuality, gender, sex and culture.

We would also like to add procedures into this policy so that it is further specific, such as what happens when a transitioning male to female wants to use the female toilets, changing room or wear uniform intended for females.

This change is up to whether the board of trustees accept our proposed changes. With your support, we can put more pressure and show for a stronger need for this change in policy. 

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Below is the draft policy that we would like to implement at Alfriston College.

Bolded parts are parts that we have changed.

BOT COMMITTEE: ATL

Date Ratified / Reviewed:

Signature:

Next Review Date:

ATL 14

AC CHARTER, GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONAL POLICIES 2017 REFERENCE: Part 2, #1.2 and Part 3, #1.3

Equity

Principle
All learners at Alfriston College shall have access to the National Curriculum regardless of race, religion, sexuality, gender, biological sex or disability. Every endeavour will be made to ensure learners are not subject to discrimination and that learners are treated with respect to their background, which includes their race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and biological sex.

Guidelines

  1. The school will endeavour to provide positive role models in terms of race, religion, sexuality, gender, biological sex or disability so that learners can understand the importance of equity in the behaviour of themselves and others
  2. Learning Leaders will endeavour to be aware of the background of each learner which includes their race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and biological sex.
  3. Senior staff will ensure that the equity policy, principle, guidelines and procedures are being met when monitoring learning programmes and school events or trips.
  4. Alfriston College will endeavour to provide facilities and resources that cater to the needs of all learners, such as sexuality, gender, religion, disability and biological sex. These facilities and resources will be unbiased, fair and accessible to all learners in school.
  5. The school will endeavour to provide a balanced gender and ethnicity in its staff.
  6. Appropriate methods of teaching and assessing will be practised that consider the background of a learner (this includes a learner’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and biological sex). 

Procedures
These procedures outline how the guidelines should be followed and help to give clarity to the broadness of the guidelines.

  1. In accordance with Guideline 4, transitioning learners (for example, a male to female learner that still has male genitalia) can use any unisex toilet (ground floor of H block), gendered toilet in Auaha and Whainga and gendered changing rooms in the Gym.
  2. In accordance with Guideline 3, all learners can choose to be in any gender-based group for whanau-based events (such as haka competition, chant competition or sports day).
  3. In accordance with Guideline 3, Learning leaders and senior leadership should endeavour to minimise the need for gender segregation when not necessary. 
  4. In accordance with Guideline 4, all learners can wear any Alfriston College uniform regardless of the uniform’s intended gender.

References:
Education Amendment Act 2000

InsideOut – “Making Schools Safer for Trans and Gender Diverse Students”

Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) – “Supporting LGBTQIA+ students.”

Privacy Act