Teaching panel proposes protections for transgender students

  • Saturday, October 15, 2016 10:29pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE (AP) — An Alaska educational commission wants to add transgender students to a list of protected categories in its code of ethics.

The Professional Teaching Practices Commission is looking to include a clause adding gender identification to the code, KTVA-TV reported.

Commission director Jim Seitz said to some extent the proposal is an attempt to update the code to current practices in other areas outside of education. The action was not prompted by any cases but is an attempt to be proactive, he said.

“You hear in the public now across the country transgender issues have kind of come to the surface,” he said.

Last spring, a Haines transgender student garnered attention statewide after participating in girls’ track and field competitions. The student graduated from high school last year.

Alaska School Activities Association director Billy Strickland said he didn’t know of any transgender students in the state who currently take part in school sports.

Strickland said the code of ethics change would not have a direct impact on transgender students participating in school sports. He said that’s because school districts set their own policies. However, it would hold teachers and coaches to a higher standard in their interactions with the students, said Strickland.

“It really may be a coach or a teacher that says no to a transgender student needs to make sure that’s being based on the merits of their athletic ability whether they make a team or not,” he said.

Public written comments on the issue are being accepted by the commission through Dec. 15.

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