The Tucson Unified School District is revising its non discrimination policy to protect transgender students, staff and others.
The policy revision was approved by the TUSD Governing Board with a 4-1 vote Tuesday. Mark Stegeman cast the dissenting vote, saying that while he supports equal treatment, he had questions that needed to be addressed before he could vote in favor of the policy change.
The policy previously prohibited discrimination based on disability, race, color, religious beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, age or national origin. The revision added "gender identity or expression" to the list.
The policy change was prompted by a situation within the district, although details were not discussed publicly. The change gives TUSD the ability to craft a regulation that will “honor, respect, and protect” transgender students, said TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez.
TUSD Governing Board Member Cam Juarez supported the measure, explaining that he had recently shared the message of non discrimination with a group of kindergartners.
“We talked about how people look different and how it’s not OK to make fun of them, and we talked about treating each other like human beings,” Juarez said. “Racism, all of the -isms, these kids are not born with it, they’re taught. I’ll support this because this is about not discriminating against anyone, period."
TUSD employees, students and members of the public on district property or on official district business are expected to abide by the policy.