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712: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities

Responsible Administrator: Deputy Superintendent Education Services

 

PURPOSE

The Board is committed to establishing and maintaining welcoming inclusive, equitable safe and healthy learning and working environments that respect diversity and foster a sense of belonging for all members of the school community. This includes students, staff, and families who identify or are perceived as two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, gender fluid or questioning their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (2SLGBTQ+). The Board expects all members of this diverse community to be welcomed, respected, accepted, and supported in every school and workplace.

All members of the school community have the right to learn and work in an environment free of discrimination, prejudice, and harassment. This right is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Alberta Human Rights Act, and Alberta Education Act. These rights shall be supported and enforced so that all members of the school community may work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation for individual differences. The Board will not tolerate harassment, bullying, intimidation, or discrimination of a person's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

PROCESS

The Deputy Superintendent Education Services is responsible for maintaining this Administrative Procedure.

PROCEDURE

1.Sturgeon Public Schools strives to ensure that all students and staff members are provided with inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy working environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging for all students and staff members. All students and staff members share responsibility for creating and maintaining a work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment. Complaints of discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity shall be promptly investigated and resolved as stated in the Policy 120 – Harassment Policy.

Any language or behavior that degrades, labels, stereotypes, incites hatred, prejudice, discrimination and harassment towards students, staff, or families on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated.

2. Schools shall ensure that the school student code of conduct references a prohibition of language or behavior that degrades, labels, stereotypes, incites hatred, prejudice, discrimination or harassment.

3. The Principal shall:

3.1 consult with staff, parents and students in the development of school based policies and practices that support the implementation of division Policy 115;

3.2 ensure all aspects of this Administrative Procedure are clearly and periodically communicated to all students, families and staff;

3.3 ensure that students are informed of their ability to request support to establish or lead an activity or organization intended to promote an inclusive, equitable, safe and healthy environment that respects diversity and fosters a sense of belonging including but not limited to organizations such as gay-straight alliances, diversity clubs and anti-bullying clubs and that any refusal to establish such a request may be appealed to the Board of Trustees in accordance with Section 35.1 of the Education Act;

3.4 ensure staff members address and provide appropriate remedial consequences for all interactions involving the use of comments, behaviours and actions which are homophobic, transphobic, and sexist, whether they occur in person or in digital form, on or off school property;

3.5 ensure staff members know their professional responsibility to identify discriminatory attitudes and behaviors and create inclusive, equitable, safe, healthy and respectful learning environments;

3.6 ensure awareness and adherence to all district policies with respect to diversity, equity, human rights, sexual orientation, gender identities, discrimination, prejudice and harassment;

3.7 ensure staff utilize language and educational resources and approaches that are inclusive; age-appropriate, and respectful of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities;

3.8 provide inclusive and respectful services and supports to sexual and gender minority students and families;

3.9 ensure staff will not refer students to programs or services that attempt to change or repair a student's sexual orientation or gender identity;

3.10 ensure staff work proactively to eliminate systemic inequities and barriers to learning for sexual and gender minority students and families;

3.11 identify a staff member to serve as a safe contact for sexual and gender minority students;

3.12 inform the school community about the location and availability of this safe contact resource person;

3.13 ensure discriminatory behaviours and complaints will be taken seriously, documented and dealt with expeditiously;

3.14 ensure that the school’s Student Code of Conduct is consistent with Board requirements, is publicly available, reviewed annually, provided to all school staff, students and parents of the students of the school;

3.15 ensure all staff recognize the confidentiality of the sexual orientation and gender identity of all students and protect them from unwanted disclosure of such information.

4. To assist all staff to become more knowledgeable about sexual and gender minority identities, cultures, and communities, schools will provide professional learning opportunities to assist all staff to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and appropriate teaching practices necessary to create -inclusive, equitable, safe, healthy and respectful schools.

5. Staff members shall ensure that learning resources shall be chosen and/or updated to promote critical thinking and should include age-appropriate materials that accurately reflect the diversity of sexual and gender minority families, cultures, and communities.

Gender Identity and Expression

6. To support the safety, health, well-being and educational needs of students who identify as, or are perceived to be, gender minorities, staff shall adhere to the following recommended practices wherever possible and appropriate:

6.1 Names and Pronouns - A student or staff member has the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun that corresponds to his or her consistently asserted gender identity.

6.2 Official Records and Communication -

6.2.1 When requested in writing by an independent student, or the parent/guardian all school forms and records shall be changed to ensure that a student’s preferred name and sex, or gender is current on internal school documentation including: class lists, timetables, student files, identification cards.

6.2.1.1 Legal guardians or the independent student provides the request to the school principal.

6.2.1.2 The principal will consult with the applicable staff regarding the requested change.

6.2.1.3 The Principal advises the Administrative Assistant to add the preferred name and/or change the gender identity within PowerSchool.

6.2.2 Subject to Alberta Education changing the requirements, a student’s preferred name will appear on unofficial documents such as, but not limited to: student notifications, Diploma Exams labels, Provincial Assessment labels, Detailed Academic Report (DAR).

6.2.3 An independent student or the parent/guardian shall be informed by school staff that a legal name change is required if they desire the official Alberta Education documents to reflect another name (Official transcripts ordered through MyPass, credentials such as diplomas /certificates).

6.3 Gender-Segregated Activities - To the greatest extent possible, schools should reduce or eliminate the practice of segregating students by gender (except for already established single gender-based alternative programs).

In classroom activities or school programs where students are segregated by gender, all students should be given the option to be included in the group that corresponds to their consistently asserted gender identity.

6.4 Athletics, Locker Room, and Change Room Access and Accommodation

6.4.1 All schools shall proactively review their student athletic policies to ensure they are inclusive of sexual and gender minority students. Transgender and transsexual students shall not be asked or required to have Physical Education outside of assigned class time, and shall, subject to safety considerations, be permitted to participate in any gender-segregated activities in accordance with their consistently asserted gender identity.

6.4.2 All students shall, subject to safety considerations, have access to locker room facilities that correspond to their consistently asserted gender identity. In locker rooms that require undressing in front of others, students who desire increased privacy, for any reason (e.g., medical, religious, cultural, gender identity, personal preference) shall be provided with accommodations that best meet their individual needs and privacy concerns.

6.4.3 All students and staff shall have access to the restroom that allows for appropriate privacy. Staff shall consistently demonstrate sensitivity to the needs and safety of all students with respect to restroom or locker room access. The Principal shall ensure that individual solutions to restroom access or locker room are implemented with respect and discretion.

6.4.4 The use of locker room facilities or restrooms by transgender and transsexual students shall be assessed on a case-by-case basis with the goals of maximizing the student’s social integration, ensuring the student’s safety and comfort, minimizing stigmatization and providing equal opportunity to participate fully in school programming. The decision with regard to use of locker rooms or restroom facilities shall be made in consultation with the transgender student.

7. All students and staff have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their consistently asserted gender identity or gender expression and within the guidelines established by schools.

8. All students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to participate in all curricular and extra-curricular activities.

References

Board Policy: 110 Welcoming Inclusive, Safe and Healthy Environments
Board Policy: 115 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities
Board Policy: 120 Harassment
Board Policy: 900 Student Conduct and Discipline
The Education Act: Section 3, 16, 35.1, 42
Vision, Mission and Values Statement
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Alberta Human Rights Act
GSA’s and QSA’s in Alberta Schools: ATA
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Guidelines for Best Practices: Alberta Government

History

2020 Jan 29 Initial Approval
2022 Jun 22 Amended