Philadelphia non-binary students can now change their gender identity on school forms

In an effort to improve the Philadelphia School District’s goal of being a safe and inclusive learning environment, Superintendent William Hite announced Thursday that a new district-wide policy would allow students to select a “non-binary” gender identity option on Infinite Campus and Google Classroom, two virtual educational platforms.

The recent change will accompany the “female” and “male” gender choice options already available.

While this decision allows the school district to step up its efforts to provide an inclusive educational environment for all students, the changes will not be reflected on the state-managed documents, as they are based on the information provided from the certificate. birth certificate and other related documents.

The change is preceded by a 2016 district policy on the protection of transgender and / or gender non-conforming students, with the aim of providing a safe and equitable learning environment for students, regardless of their gender identity and expression. .

The policy is listed in Title IX regulations, which prohibits discrimination of students based on sex, with additional protections based on gender identity.

Policy 252 has been hailed as a groundbreaking effort by the school district to ensure the safety and inclusion of transgender and gender non-conforming students, including the promise of at least one non-sexist bathroom in every school, including including specific protections for students as part of their anti-bullying and harassment policies, and allowing students to dress according to their gender identity.

It also makes the “persistent refusal” to use a student’s gender identity or pronouns by a teacher or school official a violation of district policy. It emphasizes removing gender segregation from school activities and making it possible for students to participate in non-sexist activities based on their gender identity.

“The Philadelphia School District is committed to providing safe and inclusive learning environments that support the emotional and mental health of all of our students,” Hite said in a letter to parents and families.

Students have two options: they can change their name and gender identity in online communication through Google Classroom or on Infinite Campus, the student information system used by the district, which includes how their names are printed on newsletters and evaluations.

Students can access the form here, and can request a change without parental permission.

The district is able to report to the state Department of Education that a student identifies as non-binary, but it does not reflect or alter the information provided by the birth certificate. Hite notes that the district is hoping similar changes to what they are implementing are enacted at the state and federal levels.

This change reflects a previous district policy change from 2020, which allows students to change the way their names appear on Google Classroom without parental approval. A similar decision was made for district staff in 2020, which allows a change of name or gender identity without legal documentation.

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