Back to School

back to school conceptual creativity cube
Dear {Mr. Vice Pricipal},
I wanted to touch base with you regarding my son, {R}. If you got the message I left yesterday, you’ll now know that he is transgender. (If you don’t want to sound uncool, just say “trans.” He has told me so himself!)
He’s been “out” since eighth grade, so all the kids from his junior high know him as {R}. There have only been a few kids who refuse to use his chosen name and/or pronouns. He has a solid group of friends that support him and he’s pretty good about advocating for himself.
I spoke with {Counselor} today and we discussed that he’ll need a place to change for gym class. He’s not comfortable in the boys’ locker room yet, as he hasn’t had chest reconstruction surgery. He is adamant about not using the girls’ locker room, as you can imagine because he’s a boy. At {old school}, he used the bathroom in the nurse’s office. He tells me this is not a valid option at the Senior High School because the nurse’s office is far from the gym. In the past, I know you’ve had trans kids there. Do you know how similar situations were handled? Also, what about restrooms? Did I hear that the school has some that are non-gendered/unisex? {Counselor} is asking around today to see what she can find out.
Also, he’s a bit of an anxious kid, at times. It’s mainly social anxiety, and he’s pretty aware of when it’s coming on and what to do about it. I’d just like to give his teachers a heads up. First about the trans thing, because, like I said, his appearance (in other words “breasts”) tend to confuse people initially. Sometimes it takes a minute for people to wrap their head around the male name and, more importantly, pronouns. This is incredibly important. If the teachers and staff get it right, the students will follow. And, like I said, the {his junior high} students shouldn’t be an issue. It’s the {other junior high} students who might need some guidance and leadership as to treating the trans kid with respect. Secondly, I’d like his teachers and the staff – lunch room folks, substitutes, and any others – to know that he uses male pronouns and that when he gets anxious and jittery, he might need to excuse himself for a few minutes. He usually heads to a safe space (non-gender restroom, nurses office, counselor’s office) does some deep breathing or talks it through with a trusted adult. Then he can jump back into the school day.
I spoke to someone in your office today (Cindy?) and she suggested you will probably check your email over the weekend. If so, that’s great. If not, just touch base with me on Tuesday, please. He doesn’t have gym until Wednesday, but the bathroom thing will be an issue right from the get-go.
Finally, I’m attaching Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools a first-of-its-kind resource providing a blueprint for safe, supportive and inclusive school environments for transgender youth. You might be familiar with it. I find it to be a great resource for anyone who may interact with trans kids.
Thanks very much,
{Mother}


Karen Bradbury
pronouns: she/her/hers

 

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