Respect & Protect Transgender Students in Hawaii Schools
This petition had 6,808 supporters
Every student has the right to equal access to educational opportunity. But several recent incidents, including the denial of a transgender student's desire to walk in the girls' gown at the Kahuku High School graduation, demonstrate that the Hawaii Department of Education has failed to protect the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming students by not establishing an appropriate policy, neglecting to educate and train staff, and ignoring existing civil rights statutes.
We demand that by the beginning of the 2016/17 school year:
1. The Hawaii DOE disseminate and implement a policy to ensure that all students are safe, included and respected in school, regardless of their gender identity or expression.
2. The Hawaii DOE conduct training, professional development and educational activities to ensure awareness of and compliance with this policy and to provide an environment in which students have the opportunity to learn, express themselves, and live authentically.
3. Kahuku Intermediate and High School act as a model school by publicly declaring that students may participate in graduation and other school activities consistent with their gender identity.
The gender diversity policy and training shall, at a minimum:
- Provide students equal access to all activities that take place in the school, at school-sponsored functions, and on school transportation.
- Protect students' right to be addressed by educators and in school records by a name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity.
- Enforce existing policy that prohibits bullying, harassment and discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
- Provide equal access to all facilities that are consistent with the student's gender identity (or a safe and non-stigmatizing alternative upon student request).
- Protect the privacy of students' gender identity and medical information from others, including parents, guardians and other school staff, unless the student has authorized such disclosure.
- Mandate training for all staff members including teachers, administrators, counselors, social workers and health staff on their duties, responsibilities, and expectations under the policy.
- Provide opportunities for professional development to educate staff on the terms, concepts, and current developmental understandings of gender identity, gender expression, and gender diversity, and to build their skills to prevent, identify and respond to bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- Include anti-bias education for all K-12 students that includes age appropriate, culturally responsive, Hawai'i-based information and curriculum materials on gender identity, expression and diversity.
Every student deserves dignity and respect. We call upon the Department of Education to demonstrate its commitment to fairness and equality by enacting these measures promptly.
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