CHICAGO -- Chicago Public Schools introduced today new guidelines to support transgender students and employees.
CPS has had rules on the books for number of years when it comes to transgender students. The guidelines released today expand on them and give schools more specifics on how to address not only transgender students but staff as well.
Even as lawmakers in Springfield consider HB 4474 placing restrictions on transgender citizens in Illinois, the state's largest school district is expanding safety for its students who identify as transgender.
“It says that CPS values an open and safe environment,” said Janice Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer
CPS says while they don't have firm numbers on who identifies as transgender or gender non-conforming in its schools, this policy will open access to those who do, on a case by case basis.
“It may be a small population but I hope that the message is that CPS is being proactive,” Jackson said.
The new guidelines identify access to restrooms/locker rooms consistent with a students or staff's affirmed gender identity. They also open up the same opportunities provided for physical education, sports, clubs and school events and the right to dress consistent with their gender identity
It also says students cannot be denied participation in overnight school trips
Also faculty and staff should use names and pronouns that match a student's gender identity.
CPS says the guidelines are aimed at ensuring that transgender students have the same educational opportunities as their peers.
“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,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “CPS, like much of the country, has become far more aware of the needs and experiences of the transgender community, and it’s crucial for CPS guidelines to reflect our commitment to promoting safe and inclusive schools. These guidelines build on our commitment to fostering healthy and supportive learning opportunities across the District so that each of our students can reach their full potential.”