FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2/26/2021

 

Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity

(702) 776-8812

www.allianceforstudentdiversity.org

 

Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity statement on Gender Diverse Student Athletes

 

The participation of transgender athletes in school sports has been debated for many years, and those who oppose inclusive policies have been emboldened during the last administration.  As a result, we are now seeing discriminatory bills being introduced, sometimes successfully, in at least 20 states such as North Dakota, Idaho, Mississippi, and Utah. Some bills are even going so far as to require students to have internal and external examination of the reproductive organs in order to prove their biological sex. https://www.transathlete.com/take-action

In the state of Nevada, these issues are settled law, and have been for many years.

With school sports currently resuming activity, this issue has been raised here in our community, and we think it is important for students and families to be aware of the Nevada laws and policies which determine the eligibility and participation of gender diverse students in Nevada interscholastic activities.

NRS651

The main law that determines inclusivity in our state is our Public Accommodations Law, Nevada Revised Statute NRS651, which was updated in 2011 and states:

“persons are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity or expression.

The statute also defines “places of public accommodation” under Section 3K as “Any nursery, private school or university or other place of education”.

This statute states that persons, including students in schools, cannot be discriminated against, or segregated on the basis of their gender identity or expression.

You can view the entire statute here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/nrs/nrs-651.html

SB225

In the 2017 legislative session SB225 was passed. SB225 requires for every public school in the state of Nevada, including charter schools, to implement a policy to address the rights and needs of students with diverse gender identities or expressions.

The regulations for SB225 were written by the Nevada Department of Education, and approved by the Legislative Counsel Bureau in 2018. The LCB file number for the regulations is R099-17.

With regard to gender diverse athletes, the regulations state in section 3D: “When considering interscholastic activities, each plan must comply with the regulations and policies of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association”.

You can view the text is SB225 here: https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/79th2017/Bill/5112/Text#

You can view the R099-17 regulations here: https://doe.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/ndedoenvgov/content/Boards_Commissions_Councils/Workshops_Hearings/2018/May/R099-17Conceptualchanges.pdf

 

NIAA Transgender Participation Position Statement and Policy

The Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association implemented a policy for gender diverse student athletes in 2011 and that policy was updated in 2016 to reflect current Nevada law. The NIAA Transgender Participation Position Statement and Policy states, “A student shall be permitted to participate on a gender specific sports team that is consistent with the public gender identity of that student for all other purposes. In making a determination of eligibility, the NIAA will first refer to the position of the student and his or her local school regarding the student’s gender identification.

The NIAA will require that member schools make a determination of a student’s eligibility to participate on a gender specific sports team for a particular season based on the gender identification of that student as reflected:

(1) in current school records, and (2) daily life activities in the school and community at the time that sports eligibility is determined.”

You can see the NIAA Transgender Participation Position Statement and Policy Here: https://www.niaa.com/publications/Transgender_Participation__Policy_Adopted_4-6-2016.pdf

 

CCSD Gender Diverse Policy 5138

To become compliant with state law SB225, CCSD implemented Gender Diverse Policy 5138 in 2018. This policy outlines procedures for schools to address the rights and needs of gender diverse students.

In the event that a gender diverse student is transitioning at school, the policy requires for the principal to create a Gender Support Team that consists of the parent/s or guardian/s, the student, a representative from the Equity and Diversity Education Department, as well as school personnel as determined by the school administrator, including a school counselor, and any representatives of community based groups, as requested by the parent/s or guardian/s.

The Gender Support Team will meet to create a Gender Support Plan to address the needs of the student. This includes changes to name and gender marker in Infinite Campus, PE class, locker room, restrooms, overnight trips, and interscholastic activities such as sports. The student and parent/s or guardian/s determine the placement of the student in sex-segregated spaces. CCSD may not discriminate or segregate students based on their gender identity or expression. CCSD also may not violate the privacy of any student by disclosing that student’s gender assigned at birth to other students, to the parents of other students, or to staff members, unless legally required to do so by court order or subpoena, or unless the parent/s or guardian/s have authorized the school to disclose this information in writing. Once a student has had their gender marker updated in Infinite Campus, they are then treated as any other student of that gender for the purposes of enrollment, access to sex-segregated spaces, and eligibility for athletic participation.

Regarding interscholastic activities, policy 5138 states in section 3A “Each gender support plan for students with diverse gender identities or expressions must include the following components : Compliance with the Nevada interscholastic activities Association (NIAA) if interscholastic activities are considered; and compliance with the Nevada equal enjoyment of places of public accommodations law (NRS651)

You can view CCSD policy 5138 here: https://ccsd.net/district/policies-regulations/notices/p-5138-addressing-the-rig.pdf

 

The Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity provides advocacy services to gender diverse students and their families. If you are a student or parent of a student that is transitioning in school, Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity can help guide your family through the process. Our experienced student advocates have supported hundreds of gender-diverse students through their transitions in school. We can provide information and support to prepare your family to meet with the school. We can also attend the meeting with you as your advocate to ensure the school follows all state and local policies.  

Please contact us at info@allianceforstudentdiversity.org with any questions. NASD is a 501c3 non-profit organization. All services and support are provided at no cost. You can find out more information about protections for gender diverse students on our website: https://www.allianceforstudentdiversity.org/genderdiversity

 

Contact:

Laura Hernandez, Executive Director

lhernandez@allianceforstudentdiversity.org

(702) 429-5405

 

 ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

4/6/2020


Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity

(702)-776-8812

www.allianceforstudentdiversity.org

Announcing the Launch of Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity

 

Nevada Alliance for Student Diversity, a new non-profit that provides supports for racially diverse, gender diverse, and neurodiverse students and their families, announced the launch of the organization and its website, allianceforstudentdiversity.org today. Founded by parent advocates with a strong history of impacting education policy and advocating for children, NASD exists to inform, organize, and mobilize community members to support and celebrate the many diversities of Nevada’s student population. NASD offers weekly support groups for families in each of their core programs, online support groups, and regular social events bringing parents from all programs together to create an inclusive and intersectional community. NASD also provides advocacy training classes to empower families to advocate for their own children, as well as an opportunity for parents and community members to attend advanced trainings with the goal of creating a team of mentors and professional advocates to provide student support services in Nevada.

 

“We realized that neurodiverse students, specifically students with ADHD, are under-served and under-supported both in our public and our charter schools. Parents are often outnumbered by school officials during IEP meetings, and they can struggle to find competent and affordable education advocates to assist them,” said board president and co-founder Jenna Robertson. “We want to help parents feel more confident in those meetings. We also realized that many racially diverse families struggle with challenges at home or school based on racial bias, stereotypes, and prejudice. We look forward to meeting with community members of color to identify needed supports and gaps in services as we continue to build these programs.”

 

Executive Director Laura Hernandez co-founded NASD after 6 years with local non-profit Gender Justice Nevada, first as their Family & Youth Services Coordinator, and then as the Executive Director. The parent of a transgender child, Laura first became involved with the organization as a parent seeking services. Laura met GJNV co-founder and therapist Jane Heenan shortly before Laura’s daughter began her gender transition in school. In trying to work with the school to address her child’s needs, Laura found that in 2011, Nevada’s public accommodations laws were updated to include “gender identity and expression, regardless of sex assigned at birth”, however, there were no state laws or local policies specifying how these laws applied to gender diverse student’s access to restrooms and locker rooms. Laura was struggling to get her daughter’s needs met, and together, Jane and Laura began meeting with school administrators to advocate for her daughter. What followed was a very difficult year, including multiple incidences of discrimination and bullying, as well as having to legally change her daughter’s name and gender marker before the school would allow her to use the girl’s restroom.

 

Jane and Laura began attending CCSD school board meetings and meeting with the school board trustees to advocate for policy. In 2014 Laura started the “Southern Nevada Parents and Families of Gender Diverse Persons” support group online, a group which now includes over 150 local families of gender diverse youth. Laura was hired on with Gender Justice Nevada as the Family & Youth Services Coordinator in 2015, working to support other families as their children were transitioning in school. Together, Laura and Jane created the GJNV Family & Youth Services program, which included two weekly in-person support groups, low or no-cost counseling, monthly social events for families, and most importantly, student advocacy for transitioning students. Over the last 6 years Laura has personally advocated for over 150 gender diverse students transitioning in school. In 2016 Laura assisted in the writing, and testified in favor of senate bill 225, which was signed into law in 2017. SB225 requires for all school districts in the state of Nevada to implement a policy that will address the rights and needs of students with diverse gender identities.

 

After winning that victory, Laura turned her attention back to CCSD, as they began their process towards implementing policy. Laura was part of CCSD’s Gender-Diverse Workgroup researching other school’s policies and helping to determine what would be included in the district’s policy. During CCSD’s multiple public input sessions, Laura and GJNV led the effort to mobilize the community against organized opposition by anti-lgbt hate groups, drawing crowds that filled even the overflow rooms of the Government Center. After years of endless setbacks and delays, Laura’s efforts were finally successful in August of 2018, when CCSD’s board of trustees finally voted to implement their gender-diverse policy 5138. Since then, Laura has been focusing on implementation and compliance of SB225, providing professional development and policy development to charter schools and other districts in the state.

 

“After 6 years with GJNV It became clear to me that my true passion has always been about supporting families and creating community,” said Laura. “And I began to think about all the other types of diversity that exist, even just within our gender diverse parent group. Talking with other parents from group, we discussed how lucky we felt to have each other and the amazing network of support that we have built within our group, and we talked about how there are so many families struggling with other challenges who could benefit from peer support, parent mentoring, and community building. I met with my good friend and longtime group member Jenna Robertson, and together we brainstormed about how we could identify gaps in existing community services and create new resources to support and empower diverse families.”

 

During the current lock down, NASD will provide all services online, including professionally facilitated live online support groups via Zoom, moderated online peer support groups, parent mentorship, family engagement, homeschooling advocacy, educational workshops, and interactive presentations. Once schools resume classes, NASD will provide student advocacy services for racially diverse, gender diverse, and neurodiverse students, as well as parent empowerment and certified advocate training. NASD will also provide diversity and inclusion training for schools and youth-serving community organizations.

 

The founding team of Nevada Alliance for student diversity includes 8 talented professionals with decades of experience in multiple contexts, including roles as classroom teachers, and school, non-profit, and district leaders. These perspectives enable NASD to bring the management experience, empathy, and contextual understanding required to access a wide range of stakeholder voices and put ideas into action.

 

For more information, please go to

www.allianceforstudentdiversity.org                                   

 

Contact:

Laura Hernandez, Executive Director

lhernandez@allianceforstudentdiversity.org

(702)429-5405

 

 

###