The three-page gender inclusion policy the St. Louis Park School Board approved June 11 contains commitments for the district along with reporting procedures for violations.
The policy states that the district’s staff members and systems will ensure inclusive access to programming and facilities. The policy calls for the district to do the following:
• Respect all students’ gender identity and gender expression
• Identify and address students by their preferred names and pronouns
• Prohibit the separation of students and curricular materials based on gender within academics “unless it serves as a legitimate pedagogical tool.”
• Provide all students the opportunity to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity, including athletics while following applicable Minnesota State High School League rules and regulations
• Provide all students with access to facilities that align with students’ gender identity
• Respect the safety and privacy of all students, pursuant to the district’s policy relating to the protection and privacy of pupil records along with state and federal privacy laws
• Ensure that all district policies apply to all students, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression
The policy provides definitions for five terms.
• “Gender” refers to the socially constructed roles, activities, behaviors and attributes that a given society attaches to femininity or masculinity.
• “Gender Expression” means the manner in which persons represent or express gender to others, often through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, activities, voice, or mannerisms.
• “Gender Identity” means a person’s deeply held sense or knowledge of one’s own gender, regardless of the sex assigned at birth.
• “Gender Non-Binary” is an umbrella term for people who transcend commonly held concepts of gender through their own expressions and identities. Other terms for this include gender diverse, gender expansive, gender creative, gender nonconforming or genderqueer. Some non-binary people also identify as transgender.
• “Transgender” is an umbrella term describing persons whose gender identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex at birth.
The policy includes multiple reporting procedures to ensure its implementation.
According to the policy, “Any person who believes there has been a violation of this policy shall report the alleged violation immediately to an appropriate school district official designated by this policy.”
Report forms will be available in each building and the school district office, but the district will consider spoken complaints as well.
Building principals, people they designate or building supervisors will be responsible for receiving reports of violations, but a person may report a violation to the district’s human rights officer or the superintendent.
The person who takes the report at the building level must ensure that the policy, its procedures, practices, consequences and sanctions are “fairly and fully implemented.” The person who takes the report at the building level or another party the district designates must investigate complaints.
Teachers, administrators, volunteers, contractors and other school employees “shall be particularly alert to possible situations, circumstances, or events that might be a violation of this policy.”
Reports of violations will be considered private and confidential data that will not be disclosed except as permitted by law.
Complaints will not affect the person’s future employment, grades, work assignments or educational or work environments, according to the policy.
The district will protect the privacy of people filing complaints as well as individuals against whom complaints are filed and witnesses “as much as possible” while taking into consideration the district’s obligation to investigate, take action and comply with legal disclosure obligations, the policy declares.
The board plans to review the policy each year for the next three years.
The policy concludes, “The Superintendent will provide annual professional development to ensure that staff understands its responsibilities pursuant to this policy.”
The full text of the gender inclusion policy is available on the district’s website, slpschools.org. According to a district statement on the website, the administration will develop procedures so the policy can be implemented this fall.