N.S. school board creates transgender guidelines
A Nova Scotia school board now has new guidelines for transgender students and staff.
Eighteen months after a transgender student was disciplined over which washroom she used, the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has a new blueprint.
The school board offices in Truro have new transgender washrooms, but the guidelines go beyond that.
They are aimed at “providing a safe and supportive environment,” said school board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson.
The policies arose out of an incident in April 2013 when the board learned of a transgender student at Hants East Rural High using the female washroom.
The school board suddenly realized it didn’t know how to react.
Jessica Durling had been using the female washroom for a while, and though her friends didn’t mind, others began to complain.
She was issued a one-day suspension, which the board stepped in to cancel.
From there, the process of consulting and research began, and Sheena Jamieson got involved.
She’s a research coordinator with the Youth Project, a Halifax-based organization that works with young people around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“I think the thing we're most proud of is that trans youth have been involved in these guidelines from the beginning,” Jamieson said.
Durling, now a journalism student, was involved in writing those guidelines.
She said the process has been too slow, though she’s glad things are finally starting to move along.
There are plans to release province-wide guidelines for studentsand staff, but a publication date has yet to be determined.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ron Shaw