School District Gives Students the Freedom to Choose Identity and Bathroom
Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools announced this week a new policy that allows transgender students to choose their preferred name and pronouns that will be honored on graduation ceremonies, class rosters, etc.. This rule follows a federal appeals court ruling and is not an act of defiance against the infamous House Bill 2. Overall, this ruling will encourage students to be themselves and promote compassion amidst the turmoil surrounding gender issues.
Superintendent Ann Clark said CMS has been working on the regulation for a year, but the political furor over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 left principals and teachers confused and wary.
Clark said the goal of the CMS regulation is to allow all students to be safe and comfortable as they pursue an education. Although official transcripts must carry the name and gender on the student’s birth certificate, schools will be expected to create class rosters that use the student’s preferred identity. All students will have access to increased privacy, such as a screened area in the locker room or a single-stall restroom, on request.
“This is about courage, understanding and compassion,” Clark said. “These are our children. These are the community’s children.”
CMS has been dealing with transgender students on a case-by-case basis, starting in elementary schools and running through high school graduations, where there have been cases of the graduate wanting one name and gender used on the diploma and the parents wanting another. If students are 18, as most graduates are, the student’s choice will be honored next year, Clark said.