Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Iceland advances civil rights, Alaska lumbers well behind

While Iceland demonstrated its thorough understanding of the idea that civil rights are for everyone through its choice of prime minister this week, Alaska, and of course the rest of the United States, lags far behind in this simple concept. However, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District is considering tonight (and on the 17th) whether to add gender identity to its non-discrimination policy list. This was brought up back in November 2008 by the school board's Ethnic Committee (see minutes of November 11, 2008):
3. The Policy Review Committee met and considered a proposed amendment to School Board Policy 1011, Nondiscrimination. The administration proposes to amend the policy to include gender identification as a basis for non-discrimination in the school district. This is a current issue for the school district as transgendered individuals attend school. One school expects a currently identified male will soon begin dressing as a female and the school wanted to know how to handle it. Research into the issue established that court cases are placing gender identity as a protected class. The objective is to provide the schools guidance on how to deal with it. The concern expressed is if boys come to school dressed in feminine clothing it would cause disruption. The administration believes that administrative regulation on dress code provided gender neutral guidance to cover transgender dressing. The impact of the revision to the non-discrimination policy is to provide protection for students of transgendered identification who may come forward to say they felt bullied. The Policy Review Committee accepted this proposed amendment. The proposed amendment is now out for public comment to principals, staff and PTAs. The PRC will address it again at its December meeting.
Seems like a slam-dunk to me, but then I thought that it was shameful to consider adding discrimination based on sexual orientation to the Alaska Constitution.

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