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Purpose

Northbrook School District 28 strives to provide a safe and supportive environment that will help students succeed academically and socially. To that end, the school district promotes respect for everyone and will not tolerate bullying, harassment, or discrimination.

The purpose of these guidelines is to foster an educational environment that is safe and free from discrimination for all students, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and to facilitate compliance with local, state, and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment and discrimination. (See Board Policies 7:10 and 7:20).

School district personnel will work closely with students and their parents/guardians to strive to honor their wishes with respect to use of school facilities, participation in athletics and school programs, accuracy of student records, use of preferred name and pronouns, and privacy, in accordance with applicable law, and to the extent that the school district’s campus facilities reasonably permit.

Many questions arise for students, families, and school district personnel when considering the best supports for our transgender students. These guidelines do not anticipate every situation that might occur with respect to transgender students and their implementation must be grounded in the developmental differences presented by each student. Every student and school is unique, and therefore building administrators should discuss these situations with students and their parents/guardians and draw on the expertise of colleagues in addressing individual circumstances. In all situations, the needs of individual students must be assessed by the school district on a case-by-case basis. The goal of school district personnel shall be to ensure all students' health, safety, comfort, and privacy.

Communication

At the elementary level, it will generally be the parent or guardian who informs the school of the student’s transgender status or impending transition. However, it is not uncommon for a child’s desire to transition to first surface at school. If school district personnel have knowledge of a gender identity situation presenting itself and creating challenges for the student at school, it is in most cases appropriate for an administrator (or a designee who has the expertise and existing positive relationship with the student and/or student’s parent/guardian) to approach the student’s parent/guardian about the situation. Together, the family and appropriate school personnel can then effectively prepare for an approach to supporting the child’s gender expression and deploy supports as needed for the student's well-being. While it is important to consider a student’s age and grade level, as considerations during the planning process, such considerations cannot be used as a justification to delay or deny a student’s gender transition.

At the middle school level, many of the same steps are appropriate to implement. An administrator should meet with the student’s parents and the student to understand the student’s wishes and desires regarding gender expression.

Protected Student Information and Privacy

All individuals, including students, have a right to privacy. This includes the right to keep private one’s transgender or non-gender binary status at school. Information about a student’s transgender status, legal name, or gender assigned at birth may also constitute protected student information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Transgender students have the ability, as do all students, to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and decide when, with whom, and how much of their private information to share with others.

School district personnel should work closely with the student and parent/guardian in devising an appropriate plan regarding the confidentiality of the student's transgender status that works for both the student and the school, and that addresses all applicable factors including, but not limited to, the age of the student.

Student Records

The school district will accommodate a student's desire to be addressed in the name and pronoun corresponding with the student's gender identity. However, some documents will still require use of the student's legal name and gender. These documents include, but are not limited to Illinois’ secure ID and Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) testing. Other documents, including but not limited to, truancy, criminal charges, or other documentation required to be filed with the court, must be filed in the student's legal name and gender.   

Extracurricular Activities, Sports, Physical Education, Field Trips

Transgender students will be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities, sports, physical education, and field trips in accordance with their gender identification.

Nothing in these guidelines shall be construed to excuse any student from following necessary or customary protocols for obtaining parental consent for athletic participation, including permission slips, consent forms, and waivers.

Restroom Accessibility

Students shall have access to the restroom corresponding to their gender identity consistently asserted at school. Any student needing or wanting increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, will be provided access to a private restroom facility. No student shall be required to use a private restroom facility based solely on gender identity (students operating under a required safety plan or other approved agreement may be required to use such facility).

Locker Rooms

Use of locker rooms by transgender or non-gender binary students will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to maximize transgender or non-gender binary student social integration, providing an equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes and athletic opportunities and ensuring student safety. In most cases, the school district will provide access to locker rooms that correspond to the gender identity asserted by the student at school. Reasonable alternatives may also be considered in consultation with the student and the student’s parent/guardian, including use of a private area (e.g. a nearby restroom stall with a door, an area separated by a curtain, an office in the locker room area, or a separate changing schedule whereby the student utilizes the locker room before or after other students).  

An alternative arrangement to locker room use will be provided to ensure that students may maintain the privacy of their transgender status. No student will be required to use a locker room that conflicts with his/her gender identity.   In all situations, school district personnel must take reasonable measures to protect and ensure the physical privacy and safety of all students.   

Questions and Concerns

All students, including non-transgender students, should be encouraged to discuss questions or concerns with appropriate school personnel to avoid the occurrence of any incidents that would, in any manner, undermine or interfere with the provision of a safe and supportive environment for all students. Keeping lines of communication open is crucial and allows the school district to make adjustments as necessary to ensure better the health, safety and privacy of all students.

All questions, concerns, comments, or requests for resources regarding support for transgender and non-gender binary students should be directed to the building principal. Parents and guardians may also contact the Director for Student Services, who may be reached at (847)504-3405.