A Principal’s Story
Written by a primary school principal in Tasmania, 2015:
Ensuring our school is inclusive : The experience of one primary school.
As an inclusive school our student’s transition from male to female has not been a big issue.
Our school values of Community, Acceptance and Respect ensured that she is accepted for who she is and she is included in all aspects of school. She uses the female toilets, (I was prepared for some opposition to this and have had none at all) and is accepted as a female by all students, staff and their families.
Open and honest communication between school and the family leading up to and during the transition period was essential. Through reading, watching YouTube clips and documentaries and talking with staff at Working It Out (Our local Safe School’s Coalition service provider) I gained a better understanding of some of the issues our student and our community might face. So together we brainstormed solutions to likely issues. Not one of those or any other issues have arisen.
On the first day of the year we had a 3 hour Professional Learning session run by staff from Working It Out. Our whole staff attended, (Office, Facility Attendants, Teacher Assistants and Teachers) that includes all part time and full time people. We paid for part timers to attend if it wasn’t their work day. Some of our regular relief teachers attended in their own time. It gave everyone the opportunity to receive the same information, ask any questions including sensitive questions, and have a common understanding and a common language. At the end of the session everyone felt that they would be able to respond to comments or questions from children or adults.
Including a student who is transgender has not been an issue for our school community. It has been wonderful to see the student this year as she is a much happier person, is becoming more outgoing and taking on leadership roles.