UPDATE: School board postpones transgender vote

UPDATE FEB. 23: The Clark County School District Board of Trustees postponed a vote Thursday on a controversial gender diverse policy. 

The vote would have allowed trustees to direct staff to write a policy which protects transgender and gender diverse students from harassment and bullying. The policy hasn't even been drafted yet, but some parents are already worried. 

"How are they going to protect the children when you have a female going in to a male locker room and although she feels like a male and wants to be a male, there's still males in there that you can't protect her from," said Jodie Page, a mother of three students enrolled in CCSD. 

Under a new law, the Nevada Department of Education must create a similar gender diverse policy which CCSD would have to adhere to anyway. Some parents think that policy will be sufficient so CCSD shouldn't draft its own. 

So many people attended the school board meeting Thursday that extra seats were set up in the lobby. When those seats filled up, a crowd formed outside. 

"To tell students that they are not allowed to be themselves is one more incredibly harmful thing that we add," said Flynn Dexter, a former CCSD teacher who supports the policy. "These students exist so we might as well love them." 

The vote was postponed because of concerns over open meeting laws. Some trustees wanted every member of the public to be inside the building taking part in the discussion. The issue will be addressed at a later meeting in a larger venue, according to Trustee Deanna Wright. 

UPDATE FEB. 22: Clark County School District Board of Trustee members are expected to vote on a gender-diverse policy at Thursday's meeting. 

Those in favor of the policy believe there should be something protecting gender-diverse students. 

Those against the policy argue that the state's anti-bullying laws already protect gender-diverse students. 

The policy could include things like:

  • Allowing transgender students to choose their own pronoun
  • Allowing students to use the bathroom and locker room with which they identify
  • Revising the district dress code

The meeting will be held at the CCSD building on East Flamingo Road at 5 p.m. 13 Action News plans to livestream the meeting. 

UPDATE JAN. 30: Clark County School District Board of Trustees members decided to delay the decision of specific policies for gender diverse students until Feb. 8. The theater at Valley High School was standing-room only for the meeting and those on all sides of the discussion let their opinions be known.

UPDATE JAN. 29: The Clark County School District Board of Trustees are meeting tonight to review the results of public input on developing policies for gender diverse students.

More than 1,100 people attended public meetings and more than 2,000 people responded to an online survey to give their input on recommendations on how to implement protections for gender diverse students.

Some of the biggest topics we can expect to hear are bathroom and locker room policies, how to handle student name changes, and how to handle dress code.

The meeting will be held Monday night in the Valley High School Theater at 6 p.m., and public comment will be allowed.  Any final decisions would have been voted on by the board.

UPDATE DEC. 4: The Clark County School District (CCSD) is holding five public meetings and opening a survey to ask students, staff, families and community members to provide input on whether the district should develop written guidelines regarding gender diverse students.

CCSD staff will present the recommendations of the working group, the results of the public input meetings and the results of the online survey in January, where they will seek guidance from Trustees on whether or not to take next steps to develop a written policy/regulation or guidelines.

Here's a list of the upcoming meetings:

Dec. 5, 2017            Eldorado High School theater                    5:30 - 7 p.m.
                                1139 N. Linn Lane, Las Vegas

Dec. 6, 2017            Silverado High School theater                   6 - 7:30 p.m.
                                1650 Silver Hawk Ave., Las Vegas

Dec. 7, 2017            Cimarron-Memorial High School theater           4 - 5:30 p.m.
                                 2301 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas

UPDATE NOV. 28: The Nevada State Board of Education has decided not to move forward at this time with adopting a gender-diverse policy.

Parents and teachers spoke against the policy meant to protect transgender students from bullying.

Some felt it infringed upon their parenting rights. Others were not in favor of teaching gender theory in school.

Those in favor of the policy tended to have a more personal connection to the issue.

A transgender teenager told the state superintendent how she dropped out of school due to violence against her.

Parents of transgender students also emotionally recounted what their children have been through in school.

ORIGINAL STORY

The Nevada State Board of Education is expected to discuss, and possibly adopt, a policy to protect transgender and gender diverse students Tuesday.

Under a new state law, the Nevada Department of Education must create a policy to address the rights and needs of students with diverse gender identities. 

The Department of Education may approve a proposal of that policy at a meeting Tuesday. The proposal lays out guidelines public school districts and charter schools would be required to follow.

One regulation includes ensuring employees, volunteers, and students use the names and pronouns chosen by people with diverse gender identities. Another ensures access to "academic courses and services that are appropriate for and supportive of pupils with diverse gender identities." 

The proposal also states that a school or school district should assess one's rights and needs as it relates to gender identity on an individual basis. 

Erin Phillips is the president of parent-group "Power2Parent". She worries the proposal could lead to potential violations of parental rights. 

"We want to make sure that there's no gender theory being taught in our classrooms in Nevada," she said. 

Those who helped push for the law said it is an issue of respect. 

"Young people don't deserve spaces at school where they have to put up with that kind of stuff," said Jane Heenan with Gender Justice Nevada. "The adults are responsible for creating safe schools for all students."

Parents will be able to speak during public comment at the Department of Education's meeting Tuesday. It will be held at 9890 S. Maryland Parkway at 9:00am.

The Clark County School District has also been working on its own Gender Diverse Policy. The district is holding a series of public input meetings throughout the month of December. 

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