Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) faculty may implement a “Gender Support Plan” for students aged 16 and over without parental consent – or knowledge.
The Tennessee Star obtained a copy of MNPS’s Gender Support Plan. After listing the student’s preferred name, if any, the plan includes a questionnaire asking if the parent or guardian is aware and in support of the student’s gender status. It also notes that Gender Support Plans involving students under the age of 16 must be consulted with Student Services. Additionally, the plan asks what considerations must be accounted for concerning student safety if parental or guardian support is low, and if it would be necessary to develop a “safety plan.”
MNPS’s Gender Support Plan also includes questions regarding accommodations for the student: recognizing trusted advisors on campus, allowing an ‘out’ when discomfort occurs, granting the student their pick of which bathrooms and changing rooms to use, modifying technology platforms to reflect the student’s preferred name, and adhering to the level of disclosure regarding the student’s chosen gender.
MNPS Executive Officer of Communications and Community Engagement Sean Braisted explained to The Star that students over the age of 16 meet the age of consent for medical and mental health services, which is why parental notification isn’t required.
When we asked what the plan meant when it mentions accounting for student safety in the event of parental support being graded as “low,” Braisted said that each situation is handled on an individual basis to meet the needs of the student in question. Therefore, he said, no specific examples are available.
At the end of April, the MNPS Board of Education passed a resolution affirming unanimously their “physical, mental, [and] emotional support of all students, staff, parents, and stakeholders regardless of gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.” Part of the resolution mentioned MNPS’s Gender Support Plan process as one of the existing policies and tools to support staff and students.
The Star inquired with MNPS when their Gender Support Plan was created or adopted, and by whom. We didn’t receive a response by press time.
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