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HSD moves to support transgender students

By: Dave Baxter

Posted: 09/11/2018 1:00 PM

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One year after it was introduced in Manitoba, the Hanover School Division has made the decision to incorporate a resource into their schools for the upcoming school year that aims to support transgender and gender diverse students.

At the beginning of last school year, the province introduced the Supporting Transgender and Gender Diverse Students in Manitoba Schools booklet, which they said looks to show schools and school divisions ways to support transgender and gender diverse students.

As last school year kicked off, HSD said at the time they would not commit to incorporating that resource into their schools.

In June, trustees did make the decision to incorporate the booklet into their schools for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.

"We did a lot of work on that as a board throughout the year and a great deal of research went into it, including figuring out what are the legal parameters for us for something like that, and why the province produced the document," said superintendent Randy Dueck said.

He added the division had the author of the booklet come to one of their committee meetings to talk to trustees about the contents of the document.

"We did some really good research on that document and at the end of the day the board decided that document will serve as a reference for us when we’re working with transgender and gender diverse students," Dueck said.

"I think the document helps us. It’s a guideline to assure we are treating all of our students and in this case our transgender and gender diverse students in an equitable, fair, respectful way and that is important to us."

With the introduction of the documents into HSD schools the division also held a meeting with the Steinbach Ministerial Association.

"We wanted to reach out to them and we walked through with them step-by-step our Respect for Human Diversity policy and what it means for us, and then let them know that we’ve added as a reference this supporting transgender students document."

Dueck said the division did not get resistance or "blow back" during the meeting.

"We had about 50 pastors and youth pastors and it was great to have them engaged with us and asking good questions," he said. "I thought it was a very, very healthy conversation."

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