Southington Developing Policy on Addressing Transgender Students

The Southington Public Schools are trying to develop a plan on working with and educating transgender students.

Supt. Timothy F. Connellan said developing such a plan has become a necessity in modern education and the goal is to ensure that all students are treated fairly and equally.

School leaders are considering guidelines the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education laid out about three years ago.

Among others, CABE’s guidelines include recommendations like:

  • Allowing students access to the locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender with which they identify
  • Referring to transgender students by their chosen names and the pronouns of their gender identity
  • Keeping private records and information relating to a transgender student’s birth gender

n a telephone interview, Connellan told NBC Connecticut the plan is not a response to a specific student issue, but rather the school district’s effort to keep policy in line with the time and inclusive of every type of student.

“What we’re trying to do as a public school district is be proactive and make sure that we do have policy on the books which guides our actions and allows us to make sure that we’re respecting the rights of all students,” Connellan said.

Many Southington residents said they don’t see any issue with plan.

“They spend majority of their time in school. They need to be comfortable wherever they are,” Jyesha Coleman, a Southington parent, said.

“If a student wants to be identified as what they feel they are, I think they should be because it helps them grow as a person,” Stephanie Verderame said.

There is no specific timeline for when a new plan could be adopted.
Connellan said recommendations could be presented to the Southington Board of Education in the spring.

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