The Toronto District School Board is moving to strengthen its supports for trans students and has successfully resolved a Toronto mother’s human rights application on behalf of her son.
The application was filed when her son was the target of bullying which took place in the boys bathroom at school.
“As we collectively learn more about making sure trans children and youth are safe, we can build on best practices here in Ontario and across the country,” said Janina Fogels, the mother’s lawyer with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
The Board, whose Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Independent/Non-Conforming Students and Staff were the first of their kind in Ontario, aims to continue improving its protection of trans students from harm at school by:
- Developing resources for assisting with the designation of all-gender bathrooms, including informational video(s) and resource documents to answer frequently asked questions.
- Posting signage for all-gender bathrooms, in a format approved by the Board.
- Providing training to all Family of Schools, including coverage of gender identity, gender expression, accommodation, the TDSB Guidelines for the Accommodation of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students and Staff and understanding diverse gender inclusion strategies.
- Reviewing the School Climate Survey with a view to ensuring that gender identity and gender expression is reflected.
“We view these additional measures as important steps forward in the Board’s guidelines relating to trans inclusion,” said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird.
“School boards can help educators teach children the difference between curiosity that promotes healthy learning and inappropriate curiosity that causes hurt and humiliation,” said the Toronto mother, whose name has been withheld to protect the identity of her child.
The Toronto District School Board is the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada.
The Human Rights Legal Support Centre provides free legal support to people across Ontario whose human rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code have been violated. The Ontario Human Rights Code provides for equal rights and opportunities and freedom from discrimination for all persons. People cannot be discriminated against or harassed because of their gender identity or expression. These guidelines explain Toronto District School Board’s best practices related to accommodation based on gender identity and gender expression. They have been designed to raise awareness and help protect against discrimination and harassment.