At its board meeting on Monday evening, Nova Classical Academy board of directors approved guidance to staff on gender inclusion at the public charter school. The guidance, which is an interim measure until the board approves an official policy, states that gender non-conforming students should be protected from bullying, that gender non-conforming students can wear the uniform that matches their gender, and that students will be able to use the “single sex facility” that aligns with their gender.
Nova has been the target of religious right groups including the Minnesota Family Council, the Minnesota Child Protection League, and AM 980 KKMS, a conservative radio station, because they school made accommodations for a gender non-conforming student. At a recent Family Council event, however, hundreds of community members and parents showed up to support the family of the gender nonconforming child.
Parents at the school posted the new guidance on Facebook (The Column will update this article once the school posts the guidance):
The Nova board of directors will instruct the administration and staff that:
• the practice at Nova has been and continues to be that students who are gender non-conforming or transgender are protected from harassment, discrimination and bullying by Nova’s Bullying Prevention Policy, the Minnesota’s Safe Schools Act and Minnesota’s Human Rights Act and under Title IX as interpreted by the Minnesota Federal District Court in Montgomery v. Duluth Public Schools.
• Students have been taught that negative, hurtful and harassing comments about another student’s choice of uniform or any gender based actions are not acceptable and violate Nova’s policies and the law.
• To that end, Nova’s dress code policy as currently written will be implemented to allow a student to wear the uniform that they choose based on their gender identity or expression. It is and continues to be Nova’s practice to include all students regardless of gender identity and to ensure that every student has access to an equal education.
• Should a student indicate a desire to use a single sex facility that the student identifies with or to be addressed by a non-conforming pronoun, the administration will work with the student and their family on an individual basis to ensure that no student is discriminated against and that the privacy of all students is ensured.