The Winnipeg School Division (WSD) Board of Trustees is taking a lead in Manitoba to ensure safe and inclusive schools for everyone. This evening, the Board approved a policy for Safe and Caring – Trans and Gender Diverse Students and Staff that will be implemented throughout Winnipeg School Division effective September 2016.

“It is important that we have a clear and comprehensive policy on trans and gender diverse students and staff,” said WSD Board of Trustees Chair, Mark Wasyliw. “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 provides support for all students, employees and the school community based on current practices identified in research and educational literature. Inclusive policies and nurturing practices help to build a learning environment in which our most vulnerable students and staff feel safe and valued.

“I’m extremely grateful for the months of hard work WSD administration has put into developing this policy and the public for providing extensive feedback,” said Lisa Naylor, WSD Board Trustee and author of the motion to adopt a Safe and Caring policy. “We are taking strong and definable action in making our schools a place of safe, trusting and respectful learning for all students.”

The new policy, IGAAB, is consistent with:

WSD Policy JG – Safe Schools, each school in the Winnipeg School Division shall incorporate guidelines for appropriate student behaviour regarding gender identity and expression.

WSD Policy GCP – Discipline and Discharge, all staff must adhere to the guidelines for the Safe and Caring Policy for trans and gender diverse students and staff.

Manitoba Human Rights Code: all programs, activities and employment practices shall be free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The protected groups within the Code are subject to change under the legislation. Manitoba Human Rights Commission and the Charter of Rights and Freedom: it is unlawful to commit discrimination, harassment or bullying against a person on the basis of their gender identity and/ or gender expression. It is also unlawful to discriminate against an ally of a transgender person.

WSD is the largest school division in Manitoba with more than 33,000 students and 78 schools.