Providence Public Schools Announce Policy For Working With Transgender Students

Jun 30, 2016

Providence Public Schools have adopted a transgender policy that allows students to select which bathrooms and changing rooms they prefer.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Starting in September, every public school in Providence will designate teams to meet one-on-one with transgender students and their families. Providence Public Schools spokesperson Laura Hart said it’s part of a new policy aimed at making sure schools respect the rights of transgender and other gender non-conforming students.

“The point teams are local teams,” said Hart. “They’re going to be pulling from teachers and administrators, parent advocates and PE teachers. As a student identifies, if they ask for support this team is there to provide that support to come up with whatever customized accommodations that student needs.” 

Hart said the new policy formalizes students’ rights and the expectations for staff.

“This is just codifying what we already do in the schools, we just need to treat every student with respect,” said Hart. “Most teachers are already doing this, most students are already doing this.”

Additionally, the policy allows students to choose which bathroom and locker room they want to use, including the option for private facilities. 

It comes after guidance from state and federal education officials. The Obama Administration has warned that federal funding could be jeopardized if schools fail to accommodate transgender students.