(The following Grants Pass School District 7 administrative policy was published in the Josephine County Eagle on 7/15/2021, p. 6.)
(Gender Identity, Transgender, Name and Pronoun Guidance)
Dated February 5, 2021
1. Grants Pass School District prohibits discrimination or harassment on any basis protected by law, including sexual orientation and gender identity. See Policy AC, JB, JF/JFA, GBEA, etc. Oregon department of education.
2. On May 5, 2016, the Oregon Department of Education issued Guidance to School Districts: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender Students (hereinafter “Guidance”). The Department of Education has recently confirmed to the District that this Guidance remains effective and operative. A complete copy of the Guidance is attached to this memorandum for reference. This Memorandum is intended to summarize the District’s interpretation of this guidance. To the extent that issues arise which are not addressed in this Memorandum or the attached Guidance, District employees are encouraged to contact the District Office for additional review and specific guidance.
3. As set forth in the Guidance, it is recommended that District employees accept a student’ assertion of his/her/their own gender identity. When parents are aware of the student’s gender identity preferences, District employees should work closely with the student and the student’s parents in devising an appropriate plan regarding the confidentiality of the student’s transgender identity. In some cases, transgender students may feel more supported and safe if other students are aware that they are transgender. In these cases, school district staff should work closely with the student, parents, and other staff members on a plan to inform and educate the student’s peers. It may also be appropriate for school districts to engage with community resources to assist with educational efforts.
4. When the student’s parents are not aware of the student’s gender identity preferences, and especially in situations where the parent or guardian may be hostile to the student’s preference, District employees should be careful to balance the safety and concern for the well-being of the student with the District’s obligations to maintain accurate educational records, which are available to parent, under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). FERPA permits parents or guardians of minor students (under the age of 18) to review the student’s educational records. If a student wishes to change his or her gender, name, or pronoun, in a classroom or at the school, these preferences, to the extent that they are documented, could be considered educational records that the parent is entitled to inspect under FERPA.
5. So long as a student is a minor, the District should not change the official education records for the student without the knowledge and consent of at least one parent. Parents have a constitutional right to direct the upbringing of their children, and any formal changes to educational records, such as to gender, names or pronouns should be approved beforehand. Once a student reaches eighteen (18) years of age, however, the student has the right to change records related to his or her gender, name or pronoun, including educational records. Even if the parents do not consent to a formal change of gender, name or pronoun, District employees should not prohibit other students or employees from using the student’s preferred name or pronoun in informal or in-person or virtual classroom settings if requested by the student.
6. In all situations where a student approaches District employees regarding to request a change in gender, pronouns or names, the District, through its counselors and/or school administrators, should work with the student and the student’s parents or guardians to ensure that appropriate accommodations can be made for the student based on his or her particular situation. Absent circumstances that pose a risk to the safety of students, the District will not prohibit students from accessing restrooms, locker rooms or other facilities which may be separated by gender, that are associated with the student’s preferred gender identity.