HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Hartford Public Schools are aiming to make classrooms safer for transgender and gender non-conforming students through a new policy introduced this week.
The policy, which was recently approved unanimously by the Hartford Board of Education, sets guidelines for schools and district staff to address the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming students. It also requires that all programs, activities, and employment practices be free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, while ensuring a safe environment and equal access for all students.
Under the policy, students’ privacy is protected, and personnel are told not to disclose information that may reveal a student’s transgender status or gender non-confirming presentation to others unless legally required, or if a student authorizes it. The policy also gives students the right to request to change their name on school records and allows them to be addressed by the pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity.
In an attempt to remain inclusive, teachers are asked to limit the practice of segregating students by gender, and students will have the option to pick which restroom matches their gender identity. Additionally, students will be able to choose which physical education classes corresponds with their identity, and in schools with dress codes, they have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender expression.
Locker room accessibility will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure a student’s safety and comfort.
The Board of Education directs the Superintendent to provide training of district staff in transgender sensitivity, as well as developmentally age-appropriate training for students.