Protect transgender students with a policy in the Haverford district
Attention Haverford Township residents! We need a transgender policy that explicitly makes our school district a safe space for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
The district’s current practice of case-by-case accommodation leaves both students and the district vulnerable. Without an official policy, each parent and student must negotiate their own accommodation without knowing what is possible or even precisely what they can ask for. And teachers and administrators must operate without clear, publicly available guidelines.
Other nearby districts—including Marple Newtown, Radnor, Lower Merion, Upper Dublin, Great Valley, Rosetree Media, Cheltenham, Pennsbury, and Philadelphia—have already taken the step of adopting a policy. It’s time for Haverford to join them. The federal government’s recent withdrawal of protection for transgender students under Title IX has made this an urgent issue.
If we want Haverford to be proactive, our Superintendent and School Board need to know that the community supports adopting a protective policy now, regardless of what the courts decide. In a Transgender Legal Update dated March 8, 2017, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) declined to issue guidance on whether local school districts should adopt official policies to protect the rights of transgender students. The update concluded: “If a local school district wishes to adopt policy, we recommend they do so in consultation with their solicitor and the community.”
As a community, we need to tell our School Board not to wait.
Rates of attempted suicide among transgender people are higher than 40 percent, particularly when they are in situations in which they are not supported. An official policy would protect the members of a vulnerable group. But it would also contribute to and maintain an inclusive educational environment that would benefit all students. When we better equip our students to succeed in an increasingly diverse social world, everyone wins.
Important note: Please include both your name and address, and please sign this petition ONLY if you are a resident of the Haverford Township School District. Not sure? Here's a map: https://www.maptechnica.com/school-district-map/PA/Haverford+Township+School+District/unsd/4211670
Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Transgender Legal Update, March 8, 2017, https://www.psba.org/2017/02/transgender-legal-update/
Suicide Attempts Among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults: Findings of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, January 2014. Available online, https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide-Report-Final.pdf
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