Administrative Regulation 5145.4
San Francisco Unified School District and County Office of Education
Administrative Regulation 5145.4
Nondiscrimination/Harassment - Non-binary, Transgender, and Gender Non-Conforming Students
This Administrative Regulation applies to the San Francisco Unified School District and the County Office of Education.
This regulation is meant to advise school site staff and administration regarding non-binary, transgender, and gender non-conforming student concerns in order to create a safe learning environment for all students, and to ensure that every student has equal access to all components of their educational program. Board Policy 5145.3 requires District schools shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on “sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.” In accordance with Board Policy, intersex, transgender, and nonbinary students must be protected from discrimination and harassment in the public school system.
The California Education Code states that “all pupils have the right to participate fully in the educational process, free from discrimination and harassment.” Cal. Ed. Code Section 201(a). Section 220 of the Education Code provides that no person shall be subject to discrimination on the basis of gender in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives or benefits from state financial assistance. The Code further provides that public schools have an affirmative obligation to combat sexism and other forms of bias, and a responsibility to provide equal educational opportunity to all pupils. Cal. Ed. Code Section 201(b).
California Education Code Section 221.5(f) specifically requires that “A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with [their] gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.”
The California Code of Regulations similarly provides that “No person shall be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of any local agency's program or activity on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability in any program or activity conducted by an ‘educational institution’ or any other ‘local agency’. . .that receives or benefits from any state financial assistance." (5 CCR Section 4900(a))
- Gender: Gender is defined as “a person's actual sex or perceived sex and includes a person's perceived identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with a person's sex at birth.” (5 CCR Section 4910(k))
- Gender Expression: Gender expression means a student's gender-related appearance and behavior, whether stereotypically associated with the student's assigned sex at birth. (Education Code 210.7)
- Gender Identity: Gender identity of a student means the student's gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior as determined from the student's internal sense of their gender, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the student's physiology or assigned sex at birth.
- Gender-Nonconforming: Gender non-conforming student means a student whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations.
- Transgender: Transgender student means a student whose gender identity or gender expression is different from that traditionally associated with the assigned sex at birth.
- Non-Binary: An umbrella term for genders that fall outside the binary (boy/man, girl/woman). Not all non-binary persons identify as trans, and not all trans identify as non-binary.
Discrimination and Harassment
Federal and State law, as well as Board Policy, require the District to provide students with a learning environment that is free from discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity, or gender expression. Staff are required to respond appropriately to harassing and discriminatory conduct. Conduct is discriminatory, even if it is not sexual in nature, where the conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact on the student's academic performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment. Discriminatory conduct includes verbal and nonverbal conduct, physical aggression, intimidation or hostility.
Examples of prohibited conduct which may constitute gender-based harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Refusing to address a student by a name and the pronouns consistent with their gender identity
- Disciplining or disparaging a transgender student because their mannerisms, hairstyle, or style of dress correspond to their gender identity, or a non-transgender student because their mannerisms, hairstyle, or style of dress do not conform to stereotypes for their gender or are perceived as indicative of the other sex
- Blocking a student's entry to the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity because the student is transgender or gender-nonconforming
- Taunting a student because they participates in an athletic activity more typically favored by a student of the other sex
- Revealing a student's transgender status to individuals who do not have a legitimate need for the information
- Use of gender-specific slurs
- Physical assault of a student motivated by hostility toward them because of their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.
How to File a Complaint
The District's Uniform Complaint procedures (AR 1312.3) shall be used to report and resolve complaints alleging discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming students. Examples of bases for complaints include, but are not limited to, the above list as well as improper rejection by the District of a student's asserted gender identity, denial of access to facilities that correspond with a student's gender identity, improper disclosure of a student's transgender status, discriminatory enforcement of a dress code, and other instances of gender-based harassment and discrimination. The District designates the individual(s) identified below as the employee(s) responsible for coordinating the District's efforts to comply with state and federal civil rights laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and to answer inquiries regarding the District's nondiscrimination policies.
The coordinator/compliance officer(s) may be contacted at:
Director of the Office of Equity/Title IX Coordinator
555 Franklin Street, 3rd Floor
Telephone: (415) 355-7334
Fax: (415) 355-7333
LGBTQ Support Services may be contacted at:
School Health Programs Department
1515 Quintara Street
Telephone: (415) 242-2615
Fax: (415) 242-2618
Right to Privacy
A student's transgender or gender-nonconforming status is their private information and the District will only disclose the information to others with the student's prior written consent, except when the disclosure is otherwise required by law or when the District has compelling evidence that disclosure is necessary to preserve the student's physical or mental well-being. In the latter instance, the District shall limit disclosure to individuals reasonably believed to be able to protect the student's well-being.
Any District employee to whom a student discloses their transgender or gender-nonconforming status can consult with the School Social Worker and/or LGBTQ Support Services at SFUSD School Health Programs. If the student expresses interest in seeking more services, or has questions or concerns the staff member can also suggest that the student speak with either School Social Worker and/or LGBTQ Support Services at SFUSD School Health Programs directly. If the student states that their status as a transgender or gender-nonconforming student's needs are not being met, then the staff should contact LGBTQ Support Services at SFUSD School Health Programs within three school days.
As appropriate given the physical, emotional, and other significant risks to the student, the School Social Worker and/or LGBTQ Support Services at SFUSD School Health Programs may consider discussing with the student any need to disclose the student's transgender or gender-nonconformity status to their parents/guardians and/or others, including other students, teacher(s), or other adults on campus. The District shall offer support services, such as counseling, to students who wish to inform their parents/guardians of their status and desire assistance in doing so.
Addressing a Student's Transition Needs
Upon request, LGBTQ Support Services at SFUSD School Health Programs shall arrange a meeting with the student and, if appropriate, their parents/guardians to identify potential issues, including transition-related issues, and to develop strategies for addressing them. The meeting shall discuss the transgender or gender-nonconforming student's rights and how those rights may affect and be affected by the rights of other students and shall address specific subjects related to the student's access to facilities and to academic or educational support programs, services, or activities, including, but not limited to, sports and other competitive endeavors. In addition, LGBTQ Support Services at SFUSD School Health Programs shall identify specific school site employee(s) to whom the student may report any problem related to their status as a transgender or gender-nonconforming individual, so that prompt action could be taken to address it. Alternatively, if appropriate and desired by the student, the school may form a support team for the student that will meet periodically to assess whether the student's arrangements are meeting their educational needs and providing equal access to programs and activities, educate appropriate staff about the student's transition, and serve as a resource to the student to better protect the student from gender-based discrimination.
Students shall have the right to be addressed by a name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school. Students are not required to obtain a court ordered name and/or gender change or to change their official records as a prerequisite to being addressed by the name and pronoun that corresponds to their gender identity. This directive does not prohibit inadvertent slips or honest mistakes, but it does apply to an intentional and persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity. The requested name shall be included in the District’s electronic database in addition to the student’s legal name, in order to inform teachers of the name and pronoun to use when addressing the student.
The District is required to maintain a mandatory permanent pupil record which includes the legal name of the pupil, as well as the pupil’s gender. The District shall change a student’s official records to reflect a change in legal name or gender upon receipt of documentation that such legal name and/or gender have been changed pursuant to California legal requirements. In addition, the District will provide recognition and equal treatment under the law to all students by ensuring that intersex, transgender, and nonbinary students have full recognition of their accurate gender identity included as part of their student record.
Students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school. Where available, a single stall bathroom may be used by any student who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason. The use of such a single stall bathroom shall be a matter of choice for a student, and no student shall be compelled to use such bathroom.
In accordance with Board of Education Resolution # 165-24A2, schools shall designate at least one restroom to be all gender/gender neutral for student access at every school; and all single stall restrooms on school campuses and administrative buildings be labeled with appropriate signage as "all gender" restrooms.
When schools undergo construction, renovation or modernization, the District will prioritize building single stall and multi-stall all-gender restrooms, where none are currently accessible to students; and all new schools and administrative buildings will include all gender restrooms.
Locker Rooms or Other Facilities
Transgender, non-binary students shall have access to use facilities consistent with their gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records, including but not limited to locker rooms. Where available, accommodations may be used by any student who desires increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason. The use of such accommodations shall be a matter of choice for a student, and no student shall be compelled to use such accommodations. Based on availability and appropriateness to address privacy concerns, such accommodations could include, but are not limited to:
- Use of a private area in the public area (i.e., a bathroom stall with a door, an area separated by a curtain, a PE instructor’s office in the locker room);
- A separate changing schedule (either utilizing the locker room before or after other students); or
- Use of a nearby private area (i.e., a nearby restroom, a nurse’s office).
Sports and Gym Class
Transgender and non-binary students shall not be denied the opportunity to participate in physical education, nor shall they be forced to have physical education outside of the assigned class time. Transgender and non-binary students shall be permitted to participate in gender-segregated recreational gym class activities, athletic teams and competitions in accordance with the student’s gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school.
School sites may enforce dress codes that are adopted pursuant to Education Code 35291. Students shall have the right to dress in accordance with their gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school, within the constraints of the dress codes adopted at their school site. This regulation does not limit a student’s right to dress in accordance with the Dress/Appearance standards articulated in the Student and Parent/Guardian Handbook.
In accordance with Board of Education Resolution # 165-24A2, school dress codes shall be gender neutral and gender-neutral dress codes shall apply to regular school days as well as any special events, such as graduation ceremonies and prom.
Gender Segregation in Other Areas
As a general rule, in any other circumstances where students are separated by gender in school activities or programs (i.e., class discussions, field trips), students shall be permitted to participate in accordance with their gender identity as expressed by the student and asserted at school. Activities that may involve the need for accommodations to address student privacy concerns will be addressed on a case by case basis. In such circumstances, staff shall make a reasonable effort to provide an available accommodation that can address any such concerns.
In accordance with Board of Education Resolution # 165-24A2, the District encourages teachers, staff and contractors (i.e. Community-Based Organizations, consultants, etc) to eliminate gender segregation in classroom and program practices or activities that differentiate students based on gender as it appears arbitrarily or does not serve a legitimate educational purpose.
Please note that compare references, or “cf”, refer to CSBA model policies and do not necessarily indicate that the San Francisco Unified School District has adopted the referenced policy.