By Dan Walton
New legislation from the province has led to the advancement of basic human rights for the students of School District 53. No matter what gender any staff or students identify as, it’s all covered in the district’s policy update.
“Schools are respectfully responding to the needs of students and their families in this regard,” said Superintendent Bev Young.
The policy now aims to ensure all staff and students “reflect upon their behaviours and actions in order to prevent discrimination and harassment through greater awareness how their interactions can create an inclusive, equitable, supportive environment for all in our learning community,” according to the recent revision.
The update means all staff and students have the right to be referred to by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity, even if the person’s gender identity isn’t recognized by the courts.
The new definition states that all students have the right to bathrooms that are safe and private and access to facilities that match the gender they identify with.
Schools also must deal with a new dichotomy; to “balance the parent or guardian’s need to be informed about their child’s school experiences with the student’s right to live freely with their affirmed genders and right for privacy.”
And when it’s possible, “schools are encouraged to designate gender neutral facilities designed for use by one person to satisfy the need to feel safe and private.”