Letter: Policy shows school district’s commitment to keeping all students safe

According to a 2022 study by the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, 1.4% of youth (ages 13-17) identify as transgender. However, the students in this minority face disproportionate hardships.

According to a recent Centers for Disease Control study, 27% of transgender individuals feel unsafe at or going to and from school, 35% report being bullied at school, and 35% report attempting suicide one or more times. In light of these overwhelming and disheartening statistics, the Steamboat Springs School District initially adopted and revised SSSD Policy AC-E-4 in 2016 and again in 2021.

SSSD Policy AC-E-4 demonstrates the district’s commitment to upholding state and federal law requiring all school practices to be free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Since Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs, the district took the clarifying steps to define the term “gender identity” as well as denote the privacy practices afforded to gender nonconforming students. SSSD Policy AC-E-4 states “gender identity is a person’s internal deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender, regardless of the biological sex they were assigned at birth.”

Furthermore, the policy maintains that “any student may inform a school staff member of their strong desire to be consistently recognized at school using their stated gender identity, and this request should be acted upon respectfully.” With respect to parental involvement in such gender-affirming practices, the district policy states, “School personnel should involve parents or guardians in the implementation of these guidelines to support the student’s well-being at school, but should first discuss the parental involvement with the student to avoid inadvertently putting the student at risk of harm by contacting the student’s parents.”

For many of us, the risk of youth harm at the hands of a parent is simply unfathomable. However, according to a 2010 study by The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, youth who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community report significantly higher rates of domestic violence in comparison to youth who identify as heterosexual. A school’s responsibility and ability to keep students safe is not compromised by affording transgender students the gender-affirming support that they deserve and are legally entitled to. In fact, SSSD Policy AC-E-4 demonstrates our schools’ commitment to keeping all students safe.

Stephanie Blake, Nicole and Paul DeCrette, Mark Fitzgerald, Simon Fryer, Candy Granger, Steve and Stephanie Juneau, Dean and Jessica Ludwick, Francis and Brenda Madden, Ivars and Wendy Mikelsons, Denise Clark and Todd Millard, Alex and Tiffany Thoms Osias, Julie Ramirez, Greg Rawlings, Carrie and Tony Requist, Cindy and Mike Ruzicka, Heather Skinner, Kelly Subr, Eva Vaitkus and Barb Riegler

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.