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On March 13, the District 65 School Board approved an amendment to its Board Policy, section 7:10, that addresses “equal educational opportunity” and “gender identity.”

Board Policy 7:10 provided for many years that “Equal educational opportunities shall be available for all students without regard to … gender identity …” and that “No student shall, based on … gender identity be denied equal access to programs, activities, services, or benefits or be limited in the exercise of any right, privilege, advantage, or denied equal access to educational and extracurricular programs and activities.”

On March 13, the Board added a sentence that provides, “Students shall be treated and supported in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”

The amendment also directs the Superintendent to adopt appropriate procedures to effectuate the policy, and that the procedures be provided to all of the District’s staff and made available on the District’s website.

Superintendent Paul Goren said, “This is an important policy for us as we move forward to stand tall in our commitment to equal educational opportunities and to stand tall in our commitment to all children who shall be treated in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”

Suni Kartha, Chair of the Board’s Policy Committee, said, “I am extremely pleased we’re moving forward with this policy amendment. We are a school district and a community that embraces all of our students and embraces inclusivity. In this national political climate, I think it’s more important than ever that we step up and be the example of what that means especially when there are groups that we know and see are being targeted.”

Board President Candance Chow said, “I would say this is another example where we’re exemplifying how school districts should operate and serve their students.”

Board member Sergio Hernandez encouraged parents and community members to provide input “on how we as a District can shape how the policy is implemented in our schools.”