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Students now allowed to enroll as non-binary in DC public schools

Schools can be a hard place for youth

With a new policy rolling out, public schools in Washington, DC, are slated to become some of the first in the United States to allow students to enroll as non-binary.

According to a report from the Washington Post, starting next school year, families can select non-binary for students on forms, rather than simply male or female.

The DC public school system confirmed the news with a tweet.

Interim chancellor Amanda Alexander of the school system said in a statement: ‘We value the whole child at [D.C. Public Schools], and have worked diligently to ensure our schools are safe and inclusive for all students, staff, and families.’

DC joins the likes of Oregon and Minneapolis, who allow students to enroll with a third gender ‘x’ or tell their school and teachers they have a preferred name and do not identify as male or female.

Through these enrollment forms, DC teachers will know which of their students identifies as non-binary. This removes the burden from these students or their families having to inform the teachers.

Further, knowing the number of non-binary students in the system also allows for the better allocation of resources.

‘It’s a step in the right direction,’ said Jessica Raven, an activist and mother of a trans daughter in the school system. ‘I hope that it will lead to better accommodation to trans, non-binary and gender-expansive youth.’

A wave of rights and access

This move by the DC public school system is the latest in US locations recognizing these identities.

Beyond schools, numerous states have introduced legislation allowing people to choose a third gender option on various identification forms.

States like Oregon, California, and Washington led the way.

Most recently it was revealed Arkansas has been offering gender-neutral IDS since 2010.

Students have reported feeling unsafe at school, and suffering from mental health problems like suicide ideation.

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Author: Anya Crittenton