School Committee discusses transgender policy

Posted:  Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 8:45am

During Tuesday night's Wiscasset school committee meeting, member Jason Putnam had a question about a policy on the agenda, regarding transgender students. According to the policy, students who identify as a gender other than their birth gender are welcome to use facilities appropriate to the gender with which they identify. Putnam asked if parents are brought into the discussion at any point. Superintendent Terry Wood said that while the student had the ultimate choice, parents are certainly part of the process.

“This is a process that occurs over time,” she said. “Students may wish to be called by a different name than their birth name. We’re not allowed to change their public records, but as far as students, teachers, and other members of the staff are concerned, the person is the person he or she wishes to be.” Committee members said the process should otherwise be private. If a student changes his or her mind again, a new meeting would be required.

It was the first read of the policy, which has been in process since last year. A second policy, based on student dress, also received a first read. If the dress policy indicates no hats indoors, a rule about hats that might be worn during a pep rally would have to be changed to be reconciled with the dress policy.

Wood said she is working with the state to mitigate possible storm days. The schools have already had two. Some schools, including Camden-Rockport, have had policies to allow students to do some work at home. If a certain percentage of the students turns the work in at the end of the day off, the students don’t have to take a day off. So far the state has not given Wiscasset permission to use this method, but Wood said she is hopeful methods other than completing the school year in midsummer could be possible.

The state will also be doing a review of the Sheepscot Regional Education Program, called the Anchor Program, in the near future.

Jennifer Hanley was hired as an educational technician II for Wiscasset Elementary School.

Because this was the last meeting before the holidays, a short social was held prior to the meeting.