Hillsborough considering protections based on gender expression
The Hillsborough County School Board is sitting down to a workshop today on policies that will include protections for students and staff based on "gender expression.
Officials contemplate adding that phrase to a list of qualities that cannot be the basis of discrimination or harassment.
The list now includes "sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, marital status, ethnic information, sexual orientation and gender identity."
The phrase "gender expression," subject to a public hearing and vote on a later date, would be added to eight policies on harassment and non-discrimination.
Since 2014, the federal government has considered gender expression protected under Title IX. But controversies have arisen in some communities, particularly about the use of restrooms.
The Tampa Bay Times will update this post to reflect any discussion that takes place.
Update: State law protects students who express themselves in a different gender. But the issue confuses some principals and staff, according to members April Griffin and Cindy Stuart. They see these policy changes as a first step before offering more education and professional development so school officials know how to protect the rights of transgender students.
Griffin gave this example: A student was transitioning from female to male and wanted to run for Homecoming King. But the school computer would not allow the student to be classified as a male.