School districts are struggling when it comes to dealing with transgender students, thanks to the fact that more and more people are aware of this issue, and not all of them are handling the subject with grace. This has been highlighted by a recent case in the Nashua school district, where a third grade girl was forced to change schools, but the district apparently didn’t feel that a specific overall policy for handling trans students was necessary.
Whenever a trans student changes schools, I always want to know why, because the reasons can vary. Some students and their families actually opt for a transfer because they want to start with a clean slate, rather than being known as “the transgender people.” In that situation, they may meet with school officials and teachers beforehand to make sure the student’s gender is respected and to keep the process as seamless as possible.
In this instance, though, she transferred because she was being discriminated against, and disgustingly, the school at first resisted her transfer request. It wasn’t until an attorney from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders got involved that they grudgingly allowed her to transfer to a new school where she (hopefully) wouldn’t experience discrimination.
At her new school, she’s treated as who she is: a girl.
Cases where trans students are forced to change schools or districts are not at all uncommon, and they can come with hefty discrimination suits sometimes. Students may be bullied out of school by their classmates, but more commonly, it’s adults that are the problem. Especially on the elementary school level, most kids actually adapt very well to trans students; they haven’t had decades of socialization teaching them to hate and fear transgender people, and accept their classmates for who they are. Kids are a lot more open-minded than most people give them credit for.