Gender Identity & Biological Sex
The District seeks to ensure that its programs and practices are welcoming to all students regardless of their biological sex, gender identity and/or gender expression. In our policy, we define “gender identity” as a person’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither; most simply: how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity may change over time, or it may remain the same throughout one’s life. It may be the same as the gender one was assigned at birth, or it may be a different gender. The responsibility for determining an individual’s gender identity rests with the individual. By comparison, the term “biological sex” is the biological attributes such as anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones that inform whether a person is male, female, or intersex. Where sex refers to biology, gender refers to the cultural and social understandings that are layered on top of biology.
The following policies, together with their applicable administrative regulations, are relevant to the District’s commitment to ensuring that all students are provided equal opportunity and access to programs, services and activities, and that no student or employee is discriminated against on the basis of their biological sex, gender identity and/or gender expression. Please note that this list is intended to serve as a summary of the Board-approved Policies and Administrative Regulations and should not be cited as official guidance. In addition, this list is not intended to be exhaustive of all policies or procedures that may be applicable to a particular situation.
|This Policy and Administrative Regulation codify the District's commitment to establish and enhance an atmosphere where people are encouraged and expected to exhibit language, attitudes and behavior that foster sound educational practices and allow people to grow socially and academically. A process for redress of concerns is also included.
|This Policy reflects the District’s commitment to ensuring students, employees, or families who may have historically experienced opportunity or achievement gaps due to race, color, ethnicity, national origin, language, immigration status, sex assigned at birth, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, creed, or religion no longer encounter barriers. In light of social and historical context, this policy provides explicit permission to treat people differently when circumstances necessitate that something different needs to be done.
|Equal Opportunity Program for School & Classroom/Employment Practices
|Policy 103 reflects the District's intent to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to reach their potential through the educational program and not be subject to discrimination. Similarly, Policy 104 ensures that all persons have equal access to all categories of employment in the District and not be subject to discrimination. Both policies also prohibit retaliation.
|Controversial and Value Issues
|This Policy and Administrative Regulation affirm the Board's commitment to the incorporation into the ongoing curriculum ideas that may transcend traditional curricular; topics and raise questions about current social, political, technical, philosophical, religious and other challenges, regardless of the controversial nature of the topic as long as, on divided issues, differing views are carefully presented.
|Among other items related to athletics, Policy and Administrative Regulation 151 affirms the District's commitment to operate athletic programs in compliance with all applicable Federal and State laws including Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.
|Students Rights & Responsibilities
|This Policy and its associated Administrative Regulations (listed on this page) comprehensively address student behavior expectations (and consequences) as well as student rights. Among other topics, it covers school rules, student discipline, searches, freedom of expression, etc. Policy 235 and its Administrative Regulations also serve to promote and maintain a safe, positive and respectful environment that is free from bullying, hazing and harassment based upon disability, race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity or national origin. It also articulates reporting and investigation protocols as well as retaliation. See also LMSD Policy Notification regarding Prohibited Harassment, Bullying and Other Behavior.
|Transgender & Gender Diverse Students
|Policy and Administrative Regulation 259 articulate the District's intent to ensure an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students - including, explicitly and importantly, gender expansive and transgender students - and provides related guidance to staff, students, parents/guardians and others to ensure equity and non-discrimination. See also TGD Quick Reference Sheet, which provides a helpful summary of key provisions of Policy/AR 259.
Any concerns or complaints should be reported to a building administrator as soon as possible. Please note the District's policies prohibit retaliation for bringing forward a complaint or concern.
Contact Person: Megan Shafer, Assistant to the Superintendent for District Administration (email@example.com or 610-645-1928).
The list below reflects a sampling of relevant District-sponsored programs, activities and resources for students, staff and families seeking further information and opportunities for involvement.
All Gender & Sexuality Alliances (AGSA)
Each of the District's secondary schools offer a AGSA club with the goal of promoting awareness and tolerance for all sexual orientations in our schools and our communities. The purpose of these clubs is to encourage a more holistically aware society where all people feel accepted and to provide educational and supportive services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered students and their straight allies. Activities include speakers, movies, discussions and trips to city-wide AGSA meetings in Philadelphia.
AGSA Sponsors for Middle & High Schools:
600 North Ithan Ave.
|Mr. Scott Weinstein
|Lower Merion HS
|315 E. Montgomery Ave.
Ardmore, PA 19003
|Dr. Michael Johnson
|Bala Cynwyd MS
|510 Bryn Mawr Ave.
Bala Cynwyd, PA
|Mr. Jeffrey Hunter, Interim
|Black Rock MS
|1860 Montgomery Ave.
|Ms. Sarah Stout
|Welsh Valley MS
|325 Tower Lane
Narberth, PA 19072
|Mr. Christopher Hall
Gender & Sexuality Inclusivity & Belonging
GSIB (Gender, Sexuality, Inclusivity and Belonging) Group functions as a volunteer group consisting of Staff within the Lower Merion School District (LMSD) and Family Representatives who work to support and address the unique needs of students and school personnel who may be experiencing both challenges and strengths related to their gender (transgender, gender diverse, intersex, etc.) and/or sexual (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, etc.) minority identities.
The group addresses areas such as: creating and maintaining supportive physical and learning spaces in school buildings; working toward an inclusive education curriculum; engaging with LMSD School AGSAs, students, and families; learning and supporting the professional development needs for staff; advocacy and outreach, through school events and education programs for families and members of the LMSD community and more.
Students Advocating for Gender Equality (SAGE)
SAGE is a club at Harriton and Lower Merion high schools promoting awareness, discussion and advocacy about social justice issues that intersect with gender topics such as gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, race, ethnicity, class, disability, sexism and sexual violence. The four pillars that are the foundation of its mission are: women's empowerment, masculinity, LGBTQ+ rights and race & ethnicity. Along with various educational programming initiatives and events throughout the year, SAGE also sponsors an annual Social Justice Conference focusing on expanding students’ awareness of social injustices, differences and privilege, and inspiring them to act to make the world a better place.
Name Change Form
This form may be used by any student and/or parent/guardian to request a student's first name be changed in LMSD's unofficial student records.
Please note that the District has selected the following outside resources and information to provide additional understanding and insight to the community consistent with its policies, procedures, and strategic plan. The District does not endorse any outside entity and disclaims any responsibility for the evolving content of those sites.
- Lower Merion Gender Awareness and Inclusion Network (GAIN) is a group of parents/guardians committed to advocating for the many transgender, non-binary, gender creative and gender expansive students in the District. GAIN's goal is to support families in working with the District to ensure that their GET (Gender Expansive and Transgender) students are safe and happy at school. GAIN welcomes all parents regardless of the gender identity of their children. For more information or questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- TGD Resource Guide - Watershed Counseling & Consultation Services - The TGD Resource Guide provides resources for students, school personnel and parents on a variety of topics relevant to supporting and affirming TGD individuals. Explore the most recent version of the TGD Resource guide.
- Local LGBTQ Youth Programs in Pennsylvania
- Answers to Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression
- GLSEN - National advocacy group focusing entirely on supporting LGBTQ students in schools across the country. Free webinars on LGBT issues in K-12 education.
- Teaching Tolerance - Classroom resources, professional development & lesson plans for educators
- Parents & Friends of LGBTQ People (PFLAG) . - Support for families and friends of LGBTQ individuals. Includes information about finding local chapters.
- Our Trans Loved Ones - Questions and answers for parents, families and friends of people who are transgender and gender expansive
- GET Parent Support Group - Contact: email@example.com
- Family Acceptance Project - Research-based resource for family, school personnel, practitioners and religious leaders
- Information for Foster & Adoptive Parents of LGBTQ Youth
- Supporting Your LGBTQ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents
- LGBTQ National Help Center - Talkline, Hotline, Online Peer Support Chat & Youth Online Talk Groups
- National Runaway Safeline - (800) 786-2929
- The Trevor Project - Trained counselors available 24/7 for young people in crisis, feeling suicidal or in need of a safe and judgement-free place to talk. Available by phone (866-488-7386) IM or text.
- Trans Lifeline - Suicide Prevention Hotline (877-565-8860)