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Pembroke adopts policy for protecting transgender students

By MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent

November 22. 2017 10:11PM




PEMBROKE ­— School Board members adopted a policy about transgender students Tuesday night that received the full support of many in the audience.

The new policy allows students to dress and use the preferred pronouns and names, bathrooms and lockers of their gender identity.

The policy also aims to protect students by keeping information about their gender identity private, and disciplining anyone who might discriminate against or harass those students.

A copy will be posted on the School Board’s website under the policy tab.

School Board member Dave Doherty also serves as a state representative and said that a similar policy was presented to the House last term.

“Last term in Concord, I was very proud to vote for a transgender equality law,” he said, even though the bill failed to pass. “I’m very proud to second the motion to accept this policy.”

The parents of a transgender student had asked the board to adopt the policy to help protect the rights of their daughter.

A little over half a dozen people spoke in favor of the board adopting the policy during the meeting.

“The policy that is in front of you tonight represents the spirit of the community, and why we would want to be here,” said resident Nicole Manteau. Manteau said the policy helps foster an inclusive atmosphere for all students.

Others agreed.

“Being uncomfortable is not the same thing as being unsafe,” said resident Jenny Manzelli. “No one has the right to exclude or hurt others because of who they are.”

In Candia, a similar policy was repealed last summer.

Over a year ago, that town’s school board adopted rules meant to offer protections against discrimination of transgender students, including allowing them to use the bathrooms that correspond to their preferred gender identity.

The school board members who voted against the policy — Matthew Woodrow, Dana Buckley and Stephanie Helmig —said the administration could assist students on a case by case basis, and it wasn’t the board’s place to create a policy on the topic.

The repeal doesn’t mean a similar policy can’t be reintroduced again in the future, according to officials.


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