EDUCATION

Board of education says schools will set their own rules on gender identity

Apr 8, 2022, 1:39 PM
Utah gender identify guidelines for schools...
The Utah State Board of Education said schools will determine their own policies on gender identity. Photo credit: Getty Images.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education announced that schools will decide their own policies regarding gender identity, instead of setting statewide guidelines.

The board said it spent several months drafting guidelines centered on transgender and/or gender non-conforming students. These guidelines were meant to answer questions about restrooms, locker rooms, and overnight trips. The board said the guidelines were not rules, rather they could be used by schools in order to make decisions. 

The board’s draft of gender identity guidelines

In January, the board asked for public input on the drafted guidelines developed by its Standards and Assessment Committee.

According to the board of education, the draft would “guide Utah schools in their effort to provide access to an educational environment that is safe, conducive to the learning process and free from unnecessary disruption.”

The document discusses state and federal laws, State School Board rules and case law for guidance on issues of dress code, preferred pronouns and participation in clubs or athletics

“Questions are frequently asked about the rights of and the responsibilities of schools for transgender and gender-nonconforming students,” the draft reads. “In recent years, more students have been expressing their transgender and gender-nonconforming identities and requesting support in school. In addition, more parents have been requesting that schools recognize and accommodate the needs of their transgender and gender-nonconforming children.”

The board had multiple drafts of the guidelines and received over 20 thousand comments from the public.

But in the end, the board of education said its documents would not move forward.

“The Standards and Assessment Committee’s intentions have been to bring a betterment forward with the gender identity guidance document and as the board leadership, and also with input from other board members, we believe that empowering local leaders is the best solution for all of our students and families,” the board said in a press release. 

This announcement comes less than two weeks after the overturn of Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto of H.B. 11., which bans transgender girls from competing in female school sports.

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Board of education says schools will set their own rules on gender identity