Transgender Policy Committee

The Transgender Policy Committee is charged with developing and recommending policy language related to transgender students to the Board of Education.

See Verona Area School District's Equal Educational Opportunities Policy

See presentation given at first committee meeting

Why Now?

• Schools need to recognize and address the pain and isolation of students questioning or confused about their sexual orientation.
• Special concern should be given surrounding transgender youth who may be struggling with gender and sexual identity.
• Almost 80% of transgender students experience harassment.
• Nearly half of the transgender youth sampled in one study have attempted suicide.
• Some transgendered individuals report having negative experiences in school, including
hostility from peers, teachers, or school administrators.
• Increased levels of victimization correspond with decreased academic performance and
lower education aspirations.

Federal/State Law Requirements:
• Federal and state laws and constitutional provisions should ensure the right of all
students, including transgender students to attend school in safety.
• Unlawful harassment compromises a student’s ability to take advantage of
educational opportunities and often interferes both with a student’s academic
performance and emotional and physical well-being.
• When harassment is based on the student’s sex or sexual orientation, failure to
address it properly and promptly violates the law. 

Office of Civil Rights
• There is no excuse for inaction when it comes to harassment.
• The federal Department of Education (“DOE”), Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”), accepts
complaints from students based on the harassing conduct of both employees and fellow
students.
• Based on those precedents, there are good reasons to expect courts to impose liability on an educational institution for sexual harassment.
• Regardless of the courts’ receptivity to claims, schools should strictly enforce anti-sexual harassment policies in order to avoid OCR oversight and intervention.
• In April 2014, the Department of Education put out a clarification extending Title IX’s sexual discrimination prohibition to cover discrimination based on gender identity and failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.

Legal Requirements:
• Public schools are legally required to protect against harassment of transgender students.
• A school cannot harass or discriminate against a student for being a transgender.
• Also means that a student cannot be harassed for gender-related appearance and behavior, such as if a boy wants to wear a skirt.
• Schools are also responsible for preventing anyone from retaliating against an transgender student for reporting them.
• Schools must keep complaints strictly confidential.
• Public schools must allow students to express opinions, including about transgender issues, on badges, buttons, armbands, bulletin boards, printed materials, petitions, and college publications. Unless legitimate pedagogical concerns dictate otherwise.

Other Transgender Policy Samples (to assist in building VASD's policy):
Shorewood School District
Madison Metropolitan School District
National Center for Transgender Equality
WIAA Transgender Policy