California Educator

March 2017

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By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman Every day, educators deal with situations where gender plays a central role, whether it's curriculum that reinforces gender stereotypes or bullying in the schoolyard. ey're encountering a range of gender identities and expressions among both stu- dents and colleagues. While school settings can be tolerant, challenges remain: A recent national survey of 28,000 transgender individuals by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 17 percent experienced such severe mistreatment at school, including verbal harassment and physical violence, that they left. EMBRACING the GENDER Educators in public schools must lead the charge to a greater understanding of the gender spectrum. Under California Educa- tion Code Section 234.1, in fact, they are required to provide a supportive learning environment and protect every student from discrimination and harassment. In th e fo l low in g p a ge s w e' l l m e e t s om e educators who are doing exactly that, with compassion. ey take their cues from the brave students who choose to live outside traditional norms and are a model for moving forward. FEATURE

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