Winnipeg School Division approves policy for trans, gender diverse students

Winnipeg School Division trustees approved a policy for trans and gender diverse students and staff on Monday night that includes guidance on use of change rooms, gendered activities and field trips.

Policy includes student support plan for bathrooms, gym class, field trips

The Winnipeg School Division will implement a new policy for trans and gender diverse students starting in September. (David Bartlett/CBC)

Winnipeg's largest school division will have a new policy this fall for transgender and gender diverse students that includes guidance on use of change rooms, gendered activities and field trips.

The Winnipeg School Division Board of Trustees approved a safe and caring policy for trans and gender diverse students and staff on Monday night.

"It is important that we have a clear and comprehensive policy on trans and gender diverse students and staff," said school board chair Mark Wasyliw said in a press release. "The intent of this policy is not to set any group apart from another, but instead to foster inclusion and understanding for all."

The policy states that all circumstances will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but respect and inclusion is expected of everyone.

"All students and staff, regardless of gender identity or expression, have the right to be open about who they are, and have the right to privacy and confidentiality," the policy says.

A school planning guide is included in the policy to help the student and members of the support team make a safe and caring environment in the school. The guide asks preferred name and gender identification and whether the student has shared their gender identity with a parent.

A student support plan, also included in the policy, asks for advance plans when it comes to changing for gym class, gendered activities and field trips. The policy said schools are encouraged to provide a single-stall or all-gender washroom, and students can access change rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The policy will be implemented throughout the division in September, impacting more than 33,000 students and 78 schools. It also will apply to staff, parents, guardians, volunteers and trustees in the division.