The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on Feb. 15 issued comprehensive guidelines that aim to ensure Massachusetts public schools comply with the new transgender non-discrimination law that prohibits discrimination against transgender students in all school programs and activities. The DESE guidelines were praised by an array of advocates, educators, families, and youth. (Read more here.)
Now Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester and Associate Commissioner John Bynoe are receiving a flood of calls from scared and misinformed parents and other Massachusetts residents who don’t understand what it means to be transgender and to face discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.
Commissioner Chester and Associate Commissioner Bynoe need to hear from us that we support the DESE guidelines protecting transgender students and appreciate that they won’t water down the rules.
Research shows that transgender and gender non-conforming students suffer higher rates of verbal harassment, physical harassment, and physical assault in school. MTPC is grateful to DESE for issuing such practical guidance and identifying the steps that schools can take to create a safer and more welcoming environment for transgender youth in Massachusetts schools.
“Transgender students, like all students, need a school environment where they are treated fairly and respectfully so that they can focus on getting the education that they need and deserve,” said Grace Sterling Stowell, the executive director of Boston Alliance of GLBT Youth (BAGLY). “The DESE guidance gives our public schools the tools to create just that environment.”
Please call the Commissioners NOW to thank them for their ongoing support of transgender youth and the creation of a safe learning environment for all students.