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A Statement from Superintendent Todd Bowden on the School District's Gender Diverse Student Guidelines

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Today, the Sarasota County School District officially released guidelines that serve as a framework for school leaders to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for all students – particularly LGBTQIA students. The guidelines function as an extension of the existing student anti-discrimination policy as set forth by the School Board and were thoughtfully created by a committee comprised of school administrators, program specialists, students and community partners. The committee utilized best practices from other school districts, including Hillsborough and Broward counties and recent legal outcomes from St. Johns County to develop a unified practice throughout the school district. The guidelines emphasize the ability to recognize students who consistently assert a gender identity and meet the social and emotional needs of individual students. The guidelines are adaptable to provide each school community the ability to maintain student confidentiality and establish a level of trust among their student population. The guidelines also work to protect the civil rights of Sarasota County students and comply with Title VI, Title IX, Section 504 and ADA Title II discrimination policies.

“I am proud of the work the committee has done to ensure a safe and open learning environment for all our students,” noted Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “It is vitally important that our schools represent a safe place for our students – no matter what their needs and concerns are. After observing many of our schools over the last year, I am comfortable with the decision to commit our existing practices to a series of written guidelines that allows our school leaders to serve as trusted advocates for our students. We all have an obligation to ensure our children are treated with respect and these guidelines offer a thoughtful approach to accomplish this goal.”

The guidelines are available on the school district’s website:  http://bit.ly/SCSGenderDiverseStudentGuidelines

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Communications and Community Relations
Tracey Beeker, Director
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