Throughout the past several months, the Board’s Standards and Assessments Committee has taken the time to curate the proposed guidance, which notes that, “Questions are frequently asked about the rights of transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse students to be referred to by a different name or pronoun as their name on record in school.”
The document touches upon numerous issues in regards to gender identity, including students’ use of on-campus facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms, dress code, overnight trips, and physical education.
Though the Board feels that gender identity guidance should be left to families and local leaders, some feel that the decision to abandon these proposed guidelines counteracts the idea that “The Utah State Board of Education recognizes that academic success depends on access to an educational environment that is safe, conducive to the learning process, and free from unnecessary disruption, discrimination, and harassment.”
In the Thursday meeting, the organization’s Chairman, Mark Huntsman, announced that “after many hours of discussion and development, the gender identity guidance documents will not be moving forward. The Standards and Assessment Committee’s intentions have been to bring a betterment forward with the gender identity guidance document and as the board leadership, and also with input from other board members, we believe that empowering local leaders is the best solution for all of our students and families.”
Some saw this coming, as the announcement follows lawmakers’ decision to override Governor Spencer Cox’s veto of H.B. 11, a bill that would have banned transgender girls from being able to play on their school’s girls’ sports teams.