School makes transgender students rights aware and introduces new policies

Katie Bell and Emma Arnold

A Lemont high school student brought up predicaments and prejudice they faced in the school when it came to their rights as an LGBTQ+ student, when changing their name with the school from their “dead” name, to their chosen name. Specifically, the issue arose when it came to technology.

The head of the counseling and social work department, Denise Dalton, decided to go over different rights that students have in the school, and changes the school is making.

The school follows a non-regulatory guidance document administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. The document is for supporting transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students. Ensuing the guidelines of the document, the school is trying to make it easier for transgender students when it comes to the transition of their dead name to their preferred name. 

For example, there are many options the school is currently providing. The school is upgrading their products such as Google and Skyward.  Now in Skyward there is an option of putting your preferred name and pronouns. There are many more options such as only wanting teachers and staff to know a students preferred name and pronouns.

 Dalton expresses, “We want to be respectful of what students want, we just need to know what they want.”

Dalton shares that the school is experimenting with different ideas for supporting Lemont’s LGBTQ+ students. An idea she expressed was a support group that she feels students would benefit from. She shares that it would not be a club or a school team, it would just simply be support. Dalton explained “We don’t want students to feel like they are not part of a family.”  

Dalton first recalls a student asking for assistance with a name change in 2014. The school first learned about a transgender student from the class of 2010, and when they made a legal name change, the school changed their name on their permanent record, as the school keeps student records for 50 years. 

All in all, the school is attempting to make transgender and non-binary kids feel as comfortable as possible. Dalton shares, “We want students to know that they are loved.”