The Highland Park School District may be small, but carries a big stick when it comes to tackling the big issues. At the Monday, May 23, (6:30 p.m., Irving School) board meeting, the Highland Park School Board is expected to give unanimous approval to one of the state’s most progressive transgender student policies. The school board and administration have gone further than merely modifying the bathroom-use policy. Board members are recommending the adoption of a formal support plan for district-wide treatment of transgender students or those who are in the process of transitioning.
“I cannot say with certainty that we are unique in the state, but I can say the district is cutting edge progressive by implementing a comprehensive plan that covers all nuances of treatment of transgender students,” said HP Superintendent Scott Taylor.
For example the support plan mandates that require teachers and support staff to use the gender pronoun preferred by the student. The new guidelines would give students access to any school facility or organization based on their affirmed gender – meaning transgender students/transitioning students, would be allowed to use any bathroom or locker room they choose and try out for any sports team of their choosing.
The plan was crafted by Superintendent Taylor, HP School Board Member Michelle McFadden-DiNicola, psychologist Dr. Stephanie Sasso, and a parent of a transgender child in the district. In the course of the four weeks since the proposal was introduced at the April 18 school board meeting, there has been “no push back from the community which seems to be very supportive of this most appropriate policy,” Dr. Tayor said.
“Highland Park’s transgender policy is a harbinger of the future of the Highland Park Public Schools. It is the joint effort of the Board of Education, the administration, and concerned community members working together to make our schools a safe, welcoming place for each and every student,” said School Board President Darcie Cimarusti.