Transitioning schools: Best practices for supporting transgender students and creating safer schools

A 2-hour workshop taught by Claire J. Porter, JD., M.Ed.

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Overview

Students who identify as transgendered, or are perceived as gender non-conforming, are often the targets of harassment and bullying in schools and have associated academic and personal challenges to face. Administrators need practical guidance and tools to support transgendered students in school. Our workshop will focus on providing administrators the needed framework for understanding and meeting the needs of transgendered students with teachers and staff, discuss federal and state legal protections afforded transgendered students, and provide practical school-level supports and practices to make your school safe and welcoming for all students.

Many school districts will accept participation in our workshops as continuing education units (CEUs) if you present them with our certificate of completion, which will confirm your participation in this 1.5 hour professional development workshop. These are available upon request. Please consult with your district to find out what they require before registering for the workshop if you are interested in receiving CEUs.

Expected outcomes

  • Provide a framework for understanding definitions and language
  • Understand issues confronting transgender students in the public schools
  • Review state and federal gender identity and sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws, including disability and Title IX law, Equal Access Act, FERPA and Section 504, and model policy language from around the country, as well as legal cases involving transgender students and rights.
  • Provide scenarios and best practices at school, including administrative practices (confidentiality and privacy, transfers and records, gender pronouns and preferred names), free speech issues, the Equal Access Act and GSAs, student clothing and gender neutral dress codes, protocols and policies for proms/dances, use of locker rooms/changing areas, use of restrooms, overnight field trips (same sex couples), discrimination

Who should attend?

Teachers and school administrators who wish to have a better understanding of the challenges that transgender students face at schools and a toolbox they can use to support transgendered students in public schools.

Agenda

  1. Framework for Understanding
    1. Definitions and language
    2. Concepts of gender identity and expression v. sexual orientation
  2. School basics: policies and procedures for a supportive school
    1. Privacy and disclosure
    2. Student Information Systems, Transfers, Student Records and FERPA
    3. Public transitions and private transitions
    4. Preferred names and pronoun
    5. Gender neutral dress codes
    6. Sex separated facilities, programs or activities
    7. Working with parents and guardians
  3. Legal protections for transgendered students
    1. Bullying, discrimination and harassment (hostile environment, deliberate indifference)
    2. Equal Access Act
    3. Title IX
    4. OCR guidance on sexual violence and discrimination
    5. FERPA
    6. State anti-discrimination laws
    7. Constitutional protections
    8. Section 504 and possible IEP developments

About the instructor

Claire J. Porter has worked in education for over 15 years, in several different capacities: middle and high school teacher, Dean of Students and Associate Principal at the high school level, and most recently as the Director of Secondary Education for Orange County Schools in North Carolina.

She received an M.Ed. in Educational Administration from Iowa State University and her law degree from Tulane University. She was a licensed attorney in Connecticut, New York, and Virginia. She practiced law and mediation in Virginia before beginning her career in education.

See when this workshop is offered next »