Daily News reports:
School staff are required to address city transgender students using the pronouns the kids prefer, according to updated guidelines educators issued this week.
The pronoun directive is one of many contained in a 10-page Education Department memo on transgender kids for use by school staff, students and families. The new rules expand on a single page of protections the department first published in 2014.
The guidelines come after President Trump revoked federal protections for transgender students and underscored a previous mandate that the kids must be permitted to use public school bathrooms that align with their gender identities.
The rules describe the conditions for using “non-binary” — masculine or feminine — pronouns.
“It is important to note that for students who are gender-nonconforming or who do not prescribe to the gender binary, they may prefer gender-neutral pronouns such as ‘they,’ ‘ze,’ or other pronouns,” the memo states. It also includes information about how to protect transgender and gender-nonconforming kids from bullying.
“It is important for school staff, students and parents to be aware that transgender and gender-nonconforming students may be at a higher risk for peer ostracism, victimization, and bullying because of bias and/or the possibility of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about their lives,” the rules say.
The memo is the latest support for transgender and LGBT students in city schools, in a process begun under the de Blasio administration. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña hired the public schools’ first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community liaison, Jared Fox, in 2016 and the city schools’ first gender-equity coordinator, Kimberly Shannon, in 2017.
Fox said the updated rules resulted from meetings with more than 3,000 city educators, parents and students in his first year on the job.
“It’s about a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment,” Fox said. “It’s really hard to concentrate on English or math or social studies when you don’t feel like you belong.”
The guidelines also include a glossary of appropriate terms for use in schools such as cisgender, which is defined as “an adjective describing a person whose gender identity corresponds to their assigned sex at birth.”