After an Arizona school district released new standards for integrating transgender and gender nonconforming pupils in schools, some believe Mesa Public Schools’ diversity and inclusion programs are going too far, according to Yahoo News.
The guidelines call on schools to allow transgender and gender nonconforming students to use the chosen name and pronoun that reflect their identity and for schools to allow students to use facilities that match their gender identities. MPS also created a standardized form that describes how open they want to be about their identity on campus.
Critics railed against the guidelines at a recent MPS Governing Board meeting where Sharon Benson was among those to voice concerns. She held issue with the fact that schools will only contact parents about gender identity issues in limited circumstances.
She said “it has the effect of putting children in an adversarial position with their parents,” undermining the parent’s authority. She also took issue with a clause of the plan that allows students to choose an accommodating “facilitator” to oversee discussions related to the standardized form.
“It would be unwise to allow just any adult on campus to fill this role, as most adults would not be knowledgeable about the issue and they could not properly guide,” said Benson. “Wisdom would only have qualified counselors willing to explore fully with the students the feelings they’re experiencing. Wisdom would not mandate that only gender affirming care be given.
MPS Communications and Engagement Director Joseph Valdez said the guidelines are meant to help schools implement a “safe learning environment free from discrimination and harrassment and to support the educational and social needs of transgender and gender non-conforming student.”