Cape schools adopt transgender policy

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Like other local school districts, the Cape Elizabeth School Board has adopted a new policy designed to make transgender students feel safe and supported.

The policy, which was approved on Nov. 8, is nearly identical to one adopted this past summer by the Scarborough Board of Education.

The goal is to create a safe learning environment for transgender students and help them to integrate educationally and socially into the public schools, according to Cape’s interim Superintendent of Schools Howard Colter.

Jeff Shedd, the principal at Cape High, said the student government, the Gay-Straight Alliance and most of the students in the school also support the creation of the new policy.

“I would say (there’s) full support from the student body,” Shedd said at last week’s meeting.

The policy states that students will be considered transgender if they “consistently assert” a gender that is different from the one they were assigned at birth. It also requires “more than a casual declaration of gender identity or expression.”

“I think every policy we work on is important and the transgender policy is no different. It’s really important, sensitive work,” said Elizabeth Scifres, chairwoman of the Cape School Board.

She also thanked the policy committee for its work and stressed the importance of having such guidelines in place.

Kate Gardner, Sun Media Wire