The Noble and Greenough School Policy on Transgender, Non-binary and Gender Non-conforming Individuals

Noble and Greenough School believes that the inclusion of dynamic voices can only enhance the rigor and excellence of our school. Excellence in education and social development requires a diverse, inclusive community with a growth mindset. Tantamount to that is striving to create a space that is safe, welcoming, and that celebrates all genders and gender identities. 

Principles

The school strives to foster an environment that is inclusive, equitable and free of discrimination for all people regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

The school accepts the gender identity that each individual asserts. Community members are able to access spaces and programs in a manner that is consistent with their gender identity, and processes will be in place to ensure safe integration.

Ongoing training and education of all stakeholders (including but not limited to employees, students and parents/guardians) are essential to our work to reduce the stigmatization and facilitate the integration of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals in the Nobles community.

The school will maintain the privacy of all individuals and their families. School staff shall not disclose any information that may reveal information about a student’s gender identity to others unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.

Definitions

These definitions are provided not for the purpose of labeling students but rather to assist in understanding the terminology within this policy. Individuals may or may not use these terms to describe themselves. 

Cisgender – A person whose sex assigned at birth and gender identity align.  

Gender​ -­ Attitudes, feelings, characteristics and behaviors that a given culture associates with being male or female and that are often labeled as “masculine” or “feminine.” 

Gender Identity –​­ ​A person’s deeply held sense or psychological knowledge of their own gender. One’s gender identity can be the same or different than their sex assigned at birth. 

Gender Expression​ -­ The manner in which a person represents or expresses socially-­defined gender to others, often through behavior, social interactions, clothing, hairstyles, activities, speech patterns or mannerisms. 

Gender Non-conforming -​ ­ A term for a person whose gender expression differs from stereotypical expectations, such as a cis woman who presents as masculine, a trans man who presents as androgynous, and a non-binary person who presents as feminine. This includes people who identify outside traditional gender categories or identify as both genders. Many GNC people are transgender or non-binary; however, there are also many cis people who are gender non-conforming.

Non-binary – The term “non-binary” can mean different things to different people. At its core, it is used to describe someone whose gender identity isn’t exclusively male or female. Learn more in the FAQs.

Assigned Sex​ -­ The designation of a person at birth as either “male,” “intersex” or “female” based on their anatomy, chromosomes, hormones and secondary sex characteristics.  

Sexual and Romantic Orientation ​- ­ A person’s physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to another person. Common terms used to describe sexual orientation include, but are not limited to, heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, gay, asexual and bisexual. Sexual orientation is distinct from sex, gender identity and gender expression. 

Transgender/Trans ​- ­ An adjective describing a person whose gender identity or expression is different from that traditionally associated with their assigned sex at birth. For some transgender individuals, this process involves primarily a social transition, rather than any medical treatment, such as changing an individual’s first name, pronouns, clothing and appearance ­traits that are reflective of an individual’s gender expression.

Transition​ -­ The process that a person goes through as the person changes their gender expression and/or physical appearance to align with their gender identity. 

Trans man/boy – A person who is assigned female at birth and identifies as a man/boy.

Trans woman/girl – A person who is assigned male at birth and identifies as a woman/girl.

Policy

This policy will support healthy communication between educators, parents/guardians and students to further the successful educational development and well-being of every member of the community. This policy covers, but is not limited to, conduct that takes place on school property (both physical and virtual) and at all school­-sponsored functions and activities. This policy also pertains to usage of electronic communication. This policy applies to all members of the school community, including, but not limited to students, employees, parents/guardians, volunteers and guests. In compliance with state and federal law, Nobles shall accept the gender identity that each individual asserts.

There is no medical or treatment threshold that individuals must meet in order to have their gender identity recognized and respected by all members of the community. Nobles recognizes that the needs of individuals, ranging from identity questioning to assertion, will be unique to their particular circumstances. Therefore, to support individuals who seek support and guidance from the school, we will balance all relevant factors including, but not limited to, the individual’s preference, protecting privacy, maximizing social integration, minimizing stigmatization, the individual’s safety, and available facilities on campus. Any individual who needs assistance with this policy, including addressing concerns about student records, school facilities and other activities, should contact the dean of students, dean of diversity and inclusion, director of human resources, the appropriate class dean, the student’s advisor, school counselors, or another trusted adult in the community.

Names and Pronouns

Every individual has the right to be addressed by the name and pronouns that they feel most comfortable with. A court­-ordered name or gender change is not required, and the student need not change their official records. While inadvertent slips or honest mistakes in the use of names or pronouns may occur, the school will not tolerate intentional and persistent refusal to respect an individual’s gender identity by using the wrong name and/or pronouns.

Official Records

The school will maintain appropriate student records that include a student’s legal name and sex assigned at birth. To the extent that the school is not legally required to use a student’s legal name and gender on other school records or documents, the school shall use the name and gender preferred by the student. This may include, but is not limited to letters of recommendation, diploma, student schedules, disciplinary records, etc. For documents that require a legal name, including transcripts, the legal name on file will be used.

The school will change a student’s official record to reflect a change in legal name or gender upon receipt of documentation that such change has been made pursuant to a court order, or through amendment of state or federally ­issued identification. The school is sensitive to the private nature of discussions and documentation regarding a student’s name and/or gender and is committed to protecting the student’s confidentiality by restricting the use of, and access to, this information in accordance with applicable law. The school is also sensitive to the role parents/guardians play in this matter and will work closely with families to ensure that they receive the support they may need.

Access to Gender-Segregated Areas

Nobles maintains separate restroom facilities for males and females, with the exception of the following gender-­neutral bathrooms:

Shattuck Schoolhouse: 2nd Floor between Shattuck 200 and 205
Henderson Arts Center: the Green Room/theater offices
Pratt Middle School: Nurse’s office
Baker Science Building: 1st floor next to faculty offices 109 and 110
Castle: One in basement near elevator and one on 1st floor, near coffee station
Lawson House: All bathrooms
Academic Center: One next to 120 and one next to the elevator and 108
Morrison Athletic Center: Private changing rooms and bathrooms are located across from the fitness center in the visiting team locker rooms

The school may maintain separate restrooms, locker rooms or changing facilities, to which individuals are allowed access based on their gender identity. In any gender-­segregated facility, any individual who is uncomfortable using a shared facility, regardless of the reason, shall, upon the individual’s request, be provided with a reasonable alternative. This may include, for example, addition of a privacy partition or curtain, provision to use a nearby private restroom or office, or a separate changing schedule. Requiring a transgender or gender non-conforming student to use a separate, non-integrated space threatens to publicly identify and marginalize the student as transgender, and should not be done unless requested by a student. Under no circumstances may students be required to use sex-­segregated facilities that are inconsistent with their gender identity. The dean of students, the appropriate class dean, and the student’s advisor will meet with students making specific requests to review appropriate adjustments as they apply to restrooms and changing facilities on campus.

Access to Gender-Segregated Athletic Teams and Performing Arts Groups and Productions

Transgender students are permitted to participate on sex-­segregated teams, productions, and groups in a manner consistent with their gender identity, to the extent that their participation complies with this policy and the athletic competition rules and bylaws of the New England Prep School Athletic Council and the Independent School League. In each case, school staff will ascertain student needs and evaluate the best process to support each student’s success.

Dress Code

Individuals are permitted to dress in accordance with their gender identity and gender expression, within the constraints of the dress code adopted by the school. School staff shall not enforce a school’s dress code more strictly against transgender and gender non-conforming students than other students.

Other Gender-Based Activities, Rules, Policies and Practices

The school will evaluate all gender­-based activities, rules, policies and practices on an ongoing basis and maintain only those that have a clear and sound pedagogical purpose. Individuals shall be permitted to participate in any such activities or conform to any such rule, policy or practice consistent with their gender identity.

Community Training and Procedure

The school will conduct training for all employees on their responsibilities under applicable laws and this policy. Information regarding this policy shall be incorporated into training for new school employees as part of the new employee orientation. The school will implement mandatory ongoing professional development to build the skills of all employees to prevent, identify and respond to bullying, harassment and discrimination. The content of such professional development shall include, but not be limited to: (i) inviting experts on gender identity to campus to discuss language, concepts and current developmental understandings of gender identity, gender expression and gender diversity in children and adolescents; (ii) developmentally appropriate strategies for communication with students and parents/guardians about issues related to gender identity and gender expression that protect student privacy; (iii) developmentally appropriate strategies for preventing and intervening in incidents of harassment.

Conclusion

This guidance cannot anticipate every situation in which questions may come up in the implementation of this policy, and the needs of each transgender or gender non-conforming individual should be assessed and addressed on a case-­by-­case basis. The school will continue to provide assistance, support and resources as we work together to create a safe and supportive environment for all individuals.

 

Written by: Nicole Anastos, Steve Ginsberg, Jen Hamilton, Erica Pernell and Mark Spence
Last updated March 12, 2021

Reviewed by: Talya Sokoll, Emily Parker, Sue Kemalian, Dan Halperin, Jen Hines, Ben Snyder, John Gifford and Michael Denning

Sources: GLSEN’s Model Trans Policy, Rivers School Transgender Policy, Mass. Anti-Discrimination Law, Mass. State Guidance for Public Schools