NASSP States Support for Rights of Transgender Students
Public may comment on position statement through June 10 prior to final Board consideration
Reston, VA – The Board of Directors of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) has stated its intent to adopt a position statement in support of the rights of transgender students in schools. The statement will be open for public comment for 30 days in advance of final consideration by the Board in July.
In the statement, considered during the Board of Directors meeting at NASSP’s Virginia headquarters May 5, NASSP offers firm opposition to legislation and policies that discriminate against transgender students, and provides recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers and school leaders on how to better support transgender students in the K-12 education system.
The statement builds on the new Professional Standards for Education Leaders 2015, which includes a new standard that calls directly for principals to “confront and alter institutional biases of student marginalization, deficit-based schooling, and low expectations associated with race, class, culture and language, gender and sexual orientation, and disability or special status.”
“For school leaders, this statement reaffirms the commitment NASSP has always professed to addressing the needs of each student so we can build each student’s human potential,” said NASSP President and Pennsylvania principal Michael Allison. “Transgender students are already at high risk for suicide and other destructive behaviors. While principals and other committed educators look for ways to embrace these marginalized students, policies in some states push them further to the margins. We find that unacceptable and we cannot stay silent.”
Among the recommendations for policy makers, NASSP calls for more attention and funding to be dedicated to mental health professionals in schools and to updating school infrastructure to accommodate gender-neutral restrooms, lockers, and other facilities. “There are countless reasons we could declare it impractical to address the needs of transgender students,” Allison said. “But supporting transgender students is about much more than bathrooms. We have to bend conditions and structures toward the right goal and advocate to make possible what now seems impractical.”
The position statement remains open for public comment through June 10, 2016. NASSP will gather all feedback for consideration by the NASSP Board of Directors prior to the Board’s final consideration of the statement at its July meeting.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.