- The Oregon Department of Education recently created a document giving schools suggestions on how to support “gender expansive” students within the classroom.
- The “Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance For Schools” advises schools to train teachers on how to spot gender identity discrimination and how to aid students in their gender transition.
- “Parents across Oregon feel as though the department of education has lost sight of its purpose which explains much of the exodus we have been seeing from our schools. There are far better ways to make sure our LGBTQIA+ students feel included and supported without taking away from the others who aren’t part of that community or don’t identify the same,” Michelle Walker, Oregon chapter president for No Left Turn In Education, a group working towards expanding parental rights in education, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Oregon Department of Education released a document Thursday providing guidance to schools on how to support “gender expansive” students.
The “Supporting Gender Expansive Students: Guidance For Schools” comes at the request of school districts, families and educators in order to “address the diverse needs of a broad range of gender expansive students and the school districts who serve them.” The document provides guidance for supporting students transitioning genders in schools, information about filing discrimination complaints and advice on training educators on gender identity discrimination. (RELATED: ‘Hungover, Horny, And At Work’: Oregon Preschool Teacher Suspended By State After Graphic Tweets)
“Oregon is demonstrating for parents that, once again, academics and education are not the priority of our government school system,” Laura Zorc, executive director of Building Education for Students Together, a group focused on parental rights in education, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “There are so few hours in a day, yet Oregon is committed to pushing and retraining teachers on gender issues rather than educating our children.”
To ensure student safety, the guidance suggests schools implement the “gender-affirming schools action plan” which tells educators to “consistently use affirming language” and tells schools to ensure that “LGBTQ2SIA+ educators receive social and emotional support” so they may provide for their students. The action plan tells schools to make sure transgender students are assigned “peer rooming assignments” on overnight trips and are allowed to compete with school sports teams on the basis of gender identity.
The guidance advises schools to create “identity-based” student clubs such as the “Black Student Union” and “Latinx Culture Club” for students to join on the basis of race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Schools should use the “Support and Safety Plan template,” which notifies the school that the student should dictate who their change in name and pronouns be shared with.
Oregon state-funded schools and districts are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, the guidance stated. Educators, parents and students are encouraged to submit a discrimination complaint if they notice harassment for gender identity or sexual orientation.
An example of discrimination provided in the guidance describes a “two-spirit student” with the pronouns they/he/she who comes to a “trusted teacher” about another student who is teasing them for their clothes and makeup. The teacher would recognize this is bullying of gender identity and expression and should file a Title IX complaint, the guidance said.
“The department of education should be focused on preparing students for their futures outside of the school walls, prepping them for college, graduation, teaching them how to read proficiently, etc,” Michelle Walker, Oregon chapter president for No Left Turn In Education, a group working towards expanding parental rights in education, told the DCNF. “Parents across Oregon feel as though the department of education has lost sight of its purpose which explains much of the exodus we have been seeing from our schools. There are far better ways to make sure our LGTBQIA+ students feel included and supported without taking away from the others who aren’t part of that community or don’t identify the same.”
The guidance also suggested that staff receive special training or coaching so they can better identify discrimination of gender identity and sexual orientation.
“These gender-affirming best practices from the Oregon Department of Education will help our schools to build safe learning environments where gender expansive students feel welcome, accepted and celebrated for who they are,” Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said in a press release. “It’s critical that we continue to work towards ensuring that Oregon’s gender expansive students have access to all the same opportunities for learning, achievement and success as their peers–without fear of discrimination and harassment.”
In 2022, the Oregon Department of Education administered a student health survey that asked 11-year-olds if they were transgender. The students were able to choose from several gender identity options including, two spirit, girl/woman, boy/man, demigirl, which is to feel both female and agender, demiboy, the feeling of being both male and agender, nonbinary, gender fluid, agender, which is having a lack of gender, and nogender.
“In a time where every few weeks we receive new reports on how far American students are falling behind, this move by the Oregon Department of Education betrays a radical misalignment of priorities,” Zorc told the DCNF. “It is time to elect school board members that will correct this broken system and put us back on track.”
The Oregon Department of Education did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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