Article and picture: Star Observer
South Australia will be rolling out a new education policy on how trans and gender diverse students should be treated in public schools across the state this year.
The Education Department policy will ensure trans and gender diverse students can use their preferred names and pronouns, access toilets that match their gender identity, and choose from all uniform options available at school.
It will also ensure that gender diverse students can share sleeping quarters on school camps that correspond with their gender identity and take part in sport lessons as their identified gender.
Executive Director of state-wide services and child development, Ann-Marie Hayes, said the policy was about creating consistent and clear treatment of trans and gender diverse students by schools leaders and teachers.
“The difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools,” she told The Advertiser.
“We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them – supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.”
Hayes added that the policy would specifically apply to trans students whose gender identity had already been discussed with parents and confirmed by a doctor.
She said there would be no way a boy could briefly pretend to be trans in order to sleep in girls’ sleeping quarters on school camps. Hayes also said in practice schools would work with families and it would be ‘highly unlikely’ they would go against the wishes of parents.
“This is a particular group that we know get quite bullied and harassed,” she said.
“The message we’re giving to peers here is we don’t support homophobia and transphobia in a school setting.”