Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant

In a victory for transgender students and their families in the midwest, the Minnesota Department of Education advisory council voted yesterday to approve the “Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” toolkit. Not only is the toolkit a bold move in the right direction, it also serves as a model to other state Departments of Education.

Among the supporters, HRC showed up in force. Welcoming Schools Facilitator Dave Edwards spoke in support of the measure and was joined at the council meeting by Deputy Director Cheryl Greene. HRC Youth Ambassador Zachary Mallory also spoke at the forum, along with student activist Zeam and their mother, Parents for Transgender Equality National Council member Ea McMillan Porter.

The toolkit is a guide for making schools welcoming for all students with specific guidelines for supporting transgender and gender nonconforming students. It was developed in an effort to combat bullying, one of the primary areas of focus of HRC’s Welcoming Schools program. Program Director Johanna Eager celebrated the decision, saying,

“Welcoming Schools applauds the Minnesota Department of Education’s action to support transgender and gender non-binary students.  This action models to school districts across the nation that they, too, can develop policies and practices to support transgender students despite the lack of support from Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration.”

HRC applauds this decision, which is a step forward for Minnesota and a victory for transgender youth across the state.

HRC's Welcoming Schools is the nation's premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.

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