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Utah education officials seek input on proposed transgender guidelines

By Tim Vandenack - Standard-Examiner | Jan 27, 2022

Sammy Jo Hester, Daily Herald file photo

Grace Melville holds a transgender flag during the national transgender day of remembrance at Utah Valley University on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. During the event, 295 names of murdered transgender individuals were read to commemorate their lives.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education is seeking feedback from the public on proposed guidelines governing gender-identity issues and transgender students.

The BOE Standards and Assessment Committee discussed the guidelines at a meeting on Wednesday. Now they want more input via a survey before moving forward with efforts.

“The survey allows members of the public to review and provide feedback on each section of the draft document prior to the document being finalized,” the board said in a statement Thursday. The survey is available online at bit.ly/3HajQSH and the public will be able to respond through 5 p.m. on Feb. 5.

The draft guidelines note that transgender students have a higher risk of facing discrimination, bullying, reduced academic achievement, family rejection and more. Broadly, they aim to create space for transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

“In recent years, more students have been expressing as transgender and/or gender nonconforming and requesting support in school. In addition, more parents have been requesting that schools recognize and accommodate the needs of their students who are transgender and/or gender nonconforming,” the guidelines read. “Schools should accept a student’s consistently asserted gender identity even if the gender identity is different from the biological sex.”

Schools wouldn’t be obliged to follow the guidelines, if ultimately adopted. Rather, they’d serve as guidance for schools dealing with the pertinent issues.

Feedback will be reviewed at a Standards and Assessment Committee meeting on Feb. 23. The BOE “will continue to offer opportunities for public engagement with this issue going forward,” Thursday’s statement said.

The full Utah Board of Education would have final say on approval of any guidelines.


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