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New Haven's schools pass a new policy designed to protect transgender students

Transgender flag
Ken Whytock

New Haven education officials approved a new policy that they said will help protect the identity, safety and rights of transgender students in schools in the city.

The New Haven Board of Education voted unanimously Monday on a new policy for transgender students rights and protections. Sara Armstrong, who is a parent in the district, told the board that transgender students needed more protection and support as they are more vulnerable to homelessness, violence and suicide.

“I hope that our trans and gender non-conforming students experience what this policy lays out: that they are respected and they are believed when they tell us who they are, that they can bring their whole selves to school and they are going to be safe in doing so and that they will be able to participate fully,” she said.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker praised the board for the hard work put into developing the new policy.

“Everyone should be able to be who they are in whatever environment in our city,” Elicker said. “This proclaims that in a very proactive and positive way.”

The policy requires school staff to use a student’s preferred gender and pronouns. But when speaking to parents, students are identified by their legal name and gender assigned at birth unless the student has specified otherwise.

The goal is to prevent transgender students from being kicked out of their home by their parents.

The policy also includes new training for New Haven teachers and staff in transgender sensitivity, respect and equality. Yale University’s gender program will be providing the training for free to the school district.

John is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.