Local News


UPDATE: School board moves forward with gender diversity policy

CCSD will discuss policy again in August
Posted at 11:19 AM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 08:45:28-04

UPDATE JUNE 15: After more than four hours of discussion, the Clark County School District board voted 4-3 to move forward with the gender diversity policy although they asked for some changes.

Hundreds turned out to discuss the Clark County School District's proposed gender diversity policy. The proposal is meant to protect transgender and gender diverse students in the school district.

The current draft outlines the process of schools handling student's transitions on a case by case basis.

According to the draft, the process would start with a written letter from the student's parent.  Then proceed to change the name on school rosters and other unofficial documents.

It addresses how bullying would be handled, bathroom and locker room use, and overnight trips.

Students, like Kristina Hernandez who transitioned at 11 years old say they need a policy in place.

"When you really think about it every student is going to need something different," Kristina Hernandez said.

Hernandez' family says they struggled to get schools to take them seriously when Kristina transitioned.

"It was a really terrible experience and there is so much fear, people don't understand and they didn't know what to do and we've come a long way," Laura Hernandez said.

Those against the proposed policy say it is not taking their concerns into account.

They also say while the policy protects gender diverse students, it leaves out other students privacy concerns.

"If what we are asking for and what they are asking for is equal rights, then everyone should have equal access to the bathroom of their biology and a gender-neutral option," Erin Phillips with Power 2 Parent said.

Opponents also questioning the timing of the meeting that comes just weeks after school let out for summer vacation.

"We are told our input matters.  We are told our voices are changing what they are doing with their policy, but if you actually look at the policy, everything in the policy is everything we've had concerns with," Phillips said.

Supporters say while they want a policy in place they want to fine-tune some of the language over time to increase the protections and uphold the intent of many of the clauses.

The updated policy is expected to be presented to the school board on Aug. 9.

UPDATE: 13 Action News is looking at the new draft policy that will address gender diverse students ahead of Thursday night's school board meeting.

The draft essentially says gender diverse students would be handled on a case-by-case basis based off of a gender support plan put together by a support team.

The potential policy also touches on bathroom and locker room access for students, outlining three potential options. These options include access to designated restrooms on a case-by-case basis, use of the bathroom consistent with the student's gender identity or what is consistent with their biological sex, in which case a student could ask for private accommodations.

The options would also be considered for overnight field trips.

According to the policy, staff will also be put through training that would dive into the rights of gender diverse students and how to spot potential bullying.

If a gender diverse student does experience bullying, the policy says parents should reach out to the district's Diversity and Affirmative Action office.

The draft is not set in stone yet. There will another meeting held July 12 before CCSD's Board of Trustees would have to make a decision.

ORIGINAL: The Clark County School District Board of Trustees will hold a meeting Thursday on the draft of the controversial gender diverse policy.

The Board of Trustees voted in March to draft the policy. Parents on both sides of the issue voiced their opinions and concerns at this meeting and the many others held before the decision meeting. The vote on drafting the policy was postponed several times before it moved forward. 

While this policy would not change CCSD’s current practices, it would provide principals with the written guidelines they have requested regarding this topic.

Thursday's meeting will be held at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Clark County Commission Chambers, Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas.

The larger facility provides additional seating capacity for those interested in attending the meeting, in which trustees will discuss and take public comment on the draft CCSD Policy 5138,  “Addressing the Rights and Needs of Students with Diverse Gender Identities or Expressions.” 

The draft CCSD policy incorporates language from the Nevada Department of Education’s proposed regulation to address the rights and needs of students with diverse gender identities or expressions. The state regulation is under development to comply with Senate Bill 225, which was passed in 2017 by Nevada legislators and signed into law by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. The state law protects students from discrimination based on gender identities or expressions. 

The district currently has no written guidelines regarding transgender students. This proposed policy, along with the Nevada Department of Education’s proposed regulation, put in writing the process that CCSD schools have used in the past to address the rights and needs of gender diverse students. Typically, CCSD school leaders work with families, students, and CCSD’s Equity and Diversity Education Department to create individualized plans to address the rights and needs of students with diverse gender identities or expressions. 

The district’s draft policy is modeled after the state’s proposed regulation, which requires that a team including the student’s parents/guardians and a school administrator create an individualized plan for each gender diverse student. To view the Nevada Department of Education’s draft regulation relating to SB 225, click here.

CCSD’s proposed policy would incorporate that requirement by having those teams create a “Gender Support Plan” for students with diverse gender identities or expressions.

The CCSD draft policy would come back at least once more to the Board of School Trustees for additional public comment and consideration. 

The meeting will be aired on Clark County Television (CCTV), which is available in the Las Vegas area on Channel 4/1004 on Cox Cable and on CenturyLink on Channels 4 and 1004, as well as in Laughlin on Channel 14 via Suddenlink. Additionally, CCTV is available in Boulder City on Channel 4 and in Moapa Valley on Digital Channel 50.3.

A live stream of the meeting can also be found at www.ClarkCountyNV.gov and clicking “CCTV Live” on the left navigation panel the day of the meeting or by visiting www.youtube.com/ClarkCountyNV.

A link to the meeting also will be posted on ccsd.net