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Motion and Speaking Notes on Gender Identity and Expression Regulations

September 18, 2015

Here are my speaking notes on my motion to have administration develop a series of regulations based upon the following issues:

Confidentiality and privacy

Requirements for ‘Proof’/Identification

Names and Pronouns

Official Records and Communication

Gender Segregated Activities

Athletics, Locker Room and Change Room Access and Accommodation

Extra- Curricular Activities

Restroom Accessibility

Dress Code

Resolving Conflicts

Support Services

Educational opportunities for raising awareness Curricular integration and Access to accurate information

Professional learning, advocacy support, and role models

Student engagement and student leadership

Speaking Notes:

I was intrigued to find a pamphlet The 5 Marks of Catholic School Identity sent home from my son’s Catholic school.  Under Mark 5 it states that “An excellent Catholic school recognizes that each and every stakeholder is responsible for the common good” but the Board of Trustees which runs our district is not mentioned once as a stakeholder in any of the 7 points.  Parents are mentioned, school councils are mentioned, the parish is mentioned, the parish priest is mentioned, the archbishop is mentioned but not one statement on the role of the democratically elected School Board.    I think this pamphlet underlines for me the general impression I have had as a Catholic school trustee over the last 2 years—that trustees do not play a very crucial role in providing for the common good of the students and staff they serve.  And by the number and ways that I have been hindered in trying to do my job as an elected official, I am beginning to wonder why I am here.  We have no protocols on how we are to be introduced at functions so often we go to functions and are not introduced.  We have policies in place that state that we must go through the Superintendent in order to be welcomed to functions at our schools and so we are often not invited.  If we contact a principal directly to ask to attend a school function–even if we cc the superintendent on the request — we are threatened with sanction (this happened to me in my first year as a trustee).  We embark on a promise to provide policy for our transgender students and we are hindered by the possibility that if we don’t follow the Archbishop’s policy, our Catholic designation will be removed. I ask my fellow trustees to show the public why you were elected and are being paid to be here.  Is it to rubber stamp or to lead?  Our ad hoc committee has placed before you tonight a motion to request that our administration develop regulations which would protect and include our transgender students in our schools and to bring back these regulations to public board for our approval. I ask that you vote in favour of this as the duly elected officials that you are.

It is my hope that in doing so you will help protect our transgender students so that they never have to experience what one of our precious students had to experience in our school district last school year. Let us remember Jesus’ example of how he reached out to the marginalized of his day, welcomed them in, entered into a relationship with them, and showed them their dignity in the eyes of God.  And let us also remember the words of Pope Francis:  “This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, is not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity. (America Magazine: Pope Francis Interview)

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