UTAH (ABC4) – The Utah State Board of Education is putting together guidance for schools on how to accommodate for a student’s gender identity. On Thursday, the board posted the Gender Identity Guidance and a survey for people to provide feedback. Officials say the response has been incredible.
“We’ve had more than 1000 responses filled out. And we’ve had close to 2500, who have started filling it out but haven’t finished yet,” said State Board of Education Public Relations Director Mark Peterson.
Peterson said the board started drafting the guidelines in September after receiving several calls from schools asking for guidance.
“They wanted to know what the law is, where they stood on it, and what they could, and what they can’t and what they should do what they shouldn’t do,” said Peterson.
Jessa Hurty with Transgender Education Advocates of Utah said he wasn’t sure what to expect when he heard about the guidance.
“I was pleasantly surprised by what this looks like at this point in time,” said Hurty.
The 10-page document covers areas like bathrooms, dress codes and extracurricular activities. Much of the document suggested schools make accommodations based on the “student’s consistently asserted gender identity.”
While Hurty said overall he’s pleased with the recommendations, he said his organization would like to see some of the terminology changed like “biological gender.”
“I think we’d like to see that change to assigned gender at birth,” said Hurty.
Another area he would like to see clarified is the definition of “consistent declaration of gender.”
“What timeframe is that taking up? Before we, before it gets in the way of letting them explore and find out where they’re actually going to sit,” said Hurty.
This document is strictly a draft, but Hurty said it’s a step in the right direction.
“They seem little but they really are big, they go a long way for these children. And even for adults,” said Hurty.
The survey, which you can find here will close on Feb. 7. A committee will meet on Feb. 23 and discuss the feedback given.