On June 22, 2016, the Great Hearts Board of Directors passed the Biological Sex and Gender Policy, in which Great Hearts denied transgender students access to facilities, sports, teams, and uniforms consistent with students’ gender identities. Additionally, it allowed school personnel to disregard a transgender student’s pronouns and chosen name. Instead of advocating safety and non-discrimination for transgender students, the Great Hearts Board of Directors decided that Great Hearts schools should use the sex listed on student’s birth certificate to determine access to any and all school-related activities.
Great Hearts’ anti-transgender policy stands at odds with gender inclusive policies adopted by school districts, cities, and states around the country. As of 2017:
- 18 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that prohibit discrimination against transgender students in public schools;
- 200 cities and counties have banned gender identity discrimination;
- The governors of 5 states have issued executive orders banning discrimination against transgender state workers;
- In Arizona, the City Councils of Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Tempe passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation on the basis of gender identity or expression;
- Public district and public charter schools throughout Arizona have adopted policies inclusive of their transgender students, as has the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), Arizona School Counselors Association, and the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA).
A wide body of literature demonstrates the necessity of safe and secure learning environments for transgender students. Great Heart’s discriminatory policy disregards the guidance of mainstream modern medicine and instead privileges prejudiced ideologies at the expense of a child’s mental health, safety, and civil rights.
- The medical and mental health communities agree that a person’s gender identity is a unique part of what makes a person an individual.
- Professional medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that being transgender is not an mental illness and that the best way to support a transgender person is to support them in their gender identity.
- Professional educational organizations such as the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, as well as the US Department of Education all agree that the best way to provide a transgender student the opportunity to be successful is to support them in their gender identity
What sort of school accommodations are appropriate for transgender students?
- Acknowledge and accept the importance of a person’s gender identity.
- Treat all students with dignity and respect.
- Zero tolerance for harassment.
How much will it cost Great Hearts in upgrades, specialized personnel or resources to support their transgender students?
- Zero dollars.