US: Wisconsin school district bans gender-identity based bullying
A Green Bay Wisconsin school district recently banned bullying based on gender identity.
In an effort to make the Green Bay Area Public School District safer for LGBT students, officials have adopted a policy that protects children from being bullied on the basis of their gender identity. The ban was added to an already existing policy that bans bullying based on a student’s sexual orientation.
Elizabeth Wetzel Gracyalny, a social worker at East High School and the district’s LGBTQ coordinator, said she wanted to have a written rule that could be enforced.
She said: “There wasn’t a special rule for making fun of kids for gender expression, and we wanted it to be in black and white. If we have a rule, we can say, ‘This is a rule you are breaking’.”
The district also intends to make schools more trans-friendly by implementing gender-neutral bathrooms, special locker room accommodations, and training for faculty and staff on LGBT issues.
Brian Juchems, Co-Director of Madison-based Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, said that providing training is important for the safety of transgender students.
He said: “If the teacher inadvertently uses the wrong name or a substitute teacher comes in and used the birth name, and refers to them by a female name and the students know them as male, you’ve outed them.”
Recently, the Janesville, Wisconsin School District adopted a similar policy banning discrimination based on gender identity. The district allows transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity, if principals and parents give permission.