Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News)- Members of the Rochester Public Schools Board (RPS) got their first formal look at a draft that outlines the district’s policy for supporting transgender students.

It’s been a hot-button issue for RPS. The RPS board did not renew the contract of a counselor who spoke out against the policy. 

Read More: Board Does Not Renew Contract of Rochester Councilor Who Spoke Against Transgender Policy  

RPS issued a statement calling reports that said the non-renewal of Christina Barton’s contract was due to her opposition to the policy inaccurate. Barton has since filed to run for a seat on the RPS Board

Rochester School Board Readies for Vote on Transgender Student Policy

The board members discussed the proposed policy during a study session. If it’s approved next month, the drafted policy would replace the guidelines RPS Superintendent Kent Pekel issued in September.

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In a statement, Pekel said the RPS policy committee began drafting the policy after the U.S. Department of Education issued the 2024 Title IX Final Rule on April 19, which outlines expectations for schools regarding transgender/gender-expansive students. 

Pekel says the policy is concentrated on the following issues:


Parent access to information

Names, pronouns, gender markers, and district records

Gender-segregated facilities

Gender-segregated activities, classes, rules, policies, and practices

Dress codes

School trips

Intramural sports, extra-curricular activities, and interscholastic sports teams/activities


Discrimination, harassment, and bullying

One of the flashpoints of the policy centers around the disclosure of a student's gender identity to their parents or guardians. 

Rochester schools distance learning January 2022
Rochester Public Schools

The policy requires an RPS staff member, who is aware of a student’s gender identity, to disclose that information to the student's parent or guardian if the parent of guardians asks the staff member about it. 

Nothing in the proposed policy prevents a RPS staff member from contacting a student’s parent or guardian regarding an issue or concern regarding a student’s gender identity, Pekel says. 

Staff are not required to report a student’s gender identity unless the parent or guardians requests information about it, according to the proposal. 

Pekel says that rule is “consistent with RPS policies and procedures in a wide array of areas.” The full policy is available by clicking here

The RPS board is set to hold a formal vote on enacting the policy during its regular meeting next month, which is scheduled for July 16.

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