N.H. District Takes Stand for Transgender Student
New Hampshire’s Nashua School District stood up to a challenge of discrimination this year, allowing a transgender third grade student to attend a new elementary school as a female, despite her biological status as a male. “It’s our policy not to discriminate against any student, and that would include transgender students,” Superintendent Mark Conrad stated.
The child, whose name has not been released for privacy purposes, returned to second grade in a Nashua district school after winter break last January donning a female name and clothes. The student was initially accepted by the teacher and students, and was allowed to use the female restroom. However, after a parent complained about the restroom use and the staff continued addressing the student as male, behavioral issues increased, which have not been explained by the district. Eventually her mother removed her from school and used outside tutorial services for the rest of the year.
The student’s new elementary school will identify her by female name in educational records, addressed as a female by school staff, and allowed to use the girls’ restroom. The student’s transgender status is considered confidential medical information, according to an article in The Telegraph.
While the Nashua district cannot comment on individual student circumstances and does not have a written protocol for the presence of transgenders, there are multiple policies to protect students from discrimination, harassment and bullying, which are included in the student handbook and to which staff are reoriented every two years, Conrad says. “A transgender student does not typically require educational accommodations by virtue of his or her status as a transgender student,” Conrad wrote in an email. “The principal accommodation has been in providing a student with the option to use an individual unisex bathroom.”
When the Nashua district becomes aware of a transgender student, a team of school staff—including the principal, assistant principal, classroom teacher, school psychologist and guidance counselor—will work with the student and their parents to determine an individual plan for support. “The issues that public schools must often address mirror the broader issues in our society,” Conrad wrote in an email, “and to the extent these issues reflect differing or even divisive opinions in the general community, we must find ways to address those issues to balance competing viewpoints while assuring we are protecting the rights of all children and ensuring their success.”