My High School Gets It Right
The Webb Schools of California, which is the high school I went to way back when, has updated its handbook with a section for “Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students” and as far as I can see it gets it right — establishing explicitly that Webb students have a right to identify their own gender and to be called by the names and pronouns they choose, and that the school will work with them to accommodate their choices with dignity and respect. The relevant section of the handbook is here (and is immediately followed by a robust harassment and discrimination policy, which I also applaud). Note I am a cisgender hetrosexual so there may be things I miss, but to the extent I know about about this stuff, this is pretty great.
It makes me proud of my school, and it also shows the distance it’s come since I graduated there more than 30 years ago. In 1987, the gay students in our school were not out, and would not have been comfortable being out; likewise being trans or otherwise non-conforming would have been difficult. 1987 was a different time, which is neither a defense or an excuse, but is a small part of an explanation. I was mostly oblivious at the time to which schoolmates of mine were gay or non-conforming, and these days it makes me sad to think that their experience with our high school, which was positive and life-changing for me, was not everything it should have been for them.
I like the fact my high school now recognizes that not every one of its students is going to have an identity that fits comfortably in a box, and is willing to work with them so that their high school educational experience is fulfilling to them. I don’t expect Webb to execute on this perfectly at all times — my high school is full of people, and people are fallible on a daily basis — but the policy has been set, and people now know what they’re expected to live up to and work toward. That’s a good place for my school to be. I’m glad it’s there, now, for its students today.