Reported by Peter Hasson; 05/12/2016
Under a new set of guidelines rolled out last week by Chicago public schools, children will now be required to address transgender students and employees by their preferred name and pronouns — or face the consequences. Transgender students and employees can choose their preferred bathroom, locker room, name and pronouns, and everyone else is required to affirm the individual’s new identity, according to the guidelines.
Trangender students and adults in the CPS system can require their peers to adopt gender neutral terminology, such as using the pronoun “ze” instead of the usual “he” or “she.”
“Preferred Gender Pronoun (PGP) is the pronoun or set of pronouns that an individual would like others to use when talking to or referring to that individual,” the guidelines state.
“Common examples include, ‘they,’ ‘their,’ ‘ze,’ ‘he’ and ‘she.‘”
Students or employees who consciously use the “wrong” pronouns will be in violation of school policies on comprehensive non-discrimination, Title IX and sexual harassment, and student code of conduct.
According to the new guidelines:
the intentional or persistent refusal by students or school staff to respect a student’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to the student by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the student’s gender identity) is a violation of these Guidelines, the Student Code of Conduct, and Comprehensive Non-Discrimination, Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy.
CPS warns that “violations will result in appropriate consequences for offending staff and students.”
Under the guidelines, schools cannot require transgender individuals to obtain a court order or gender change before forcing the new vocabulary upon students.
The guidelines explain that the CPS system is adopting a “Gender-affirming approach,” described as “a framework used to create an environment in which transgender and gender nonconforming youth are able to live as the gendered person they identify themselves.”
“The guidelines released today will help ensure every student and adult in the CPS family can participate in an environment of complete tolerance and respect,” CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a press release.
Under the guidelines, every CPS employee is required to ensure “that any incident of discrimination, harassment, or violence is given immediate attention, including investigating the incident and taking appropriate corrective action.”
CPS employees are seemingly prohibited from telling parents that their child switched genders at school.
According to the guidelines for transgender students:
[W]hen speaking with other staff members, parents, guardians, or third parties, school staff should not disclose a student’s preferred name, pronoun, or other confidential information pertaining to the student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status without the student’s permission, unless authorized to do so by the Law Department.
The new guidelines come as the Michigan State Board of Education weighs a similar set of guidelines that would push schools to allow schoolchildren to choose their name, gender and bathroom without parental or doctoral input.
CPS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
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