Over the last 12 months DC has been working with a group of students, staff and parents, facilitated by an external expert, to create a Gender Non-Discrimination Policy. The policy expresses DC’s stance in opposing any form of discrimination based on gender identity. As part of this, the policy focusses on the needs of transgender students. Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion involves a recognition of the unique needs of this community. It is clear from research that transgender students are often subject to inequitable or discriminatory experiences during their schooling; given our commitment to inclusion, Discovery College wishes to ensure that every student is included and that the needs of transgender students are addressed in the context of a safe, supportive environment.
The policy therefore clarifies that students are entitled to express, and be treated according to, their gender identity, whether that be the same gender identity they were assigned at birth (cisgender) or an identity different from this (transgender). Key provisions that the policy makes for this include:
- Students being addressed according to their gender identity;
- Appropriate procedures for handling information shared by students about their gender identity, including in the context of the school’s digital systems;
- Students’ prerogative to access resources and facilities, such as sports teams, bathrooms and changing rooms, residential facilities during trips etc., according to their gender identity;
- The ability of any student to wear any item of clothing permitted under the school dress code, regardless of gender identity;
- The school’s commitment to ongoing curriculum review to ensure it reflects the diversity of our community;
- The school’s commitment to ongoing staff professional development and community education in order to ensure all members of our community, including all professionals working with our students, are equipped with the knowledge and understanding needed to create a safe, supportive, and inclusive educational environment.
Given that the policy addresses complex issues it is important that we continue to discuss and learn together. An opportunity for discussion of this policy will occur at the forthcoming Parent Information Fair in the ‘College Updates’ session and we would love to see as many parents there as possible.