WESTBROOK — Teachers in Westbrook will be trained in transgender issues and will be required to comply with transgender students’ preferred pronouns under a new policy the School Committee is set to approve next month.

Using pieces of Portland Public Schools’ transgender-related policies, the new Westbrook policy also will protect transgender students from hate speech or bullying in line with current policies concerning race, sexuality and religion.

The policy received preliminary approval this month.

“I think this is a lot to think about, and we are certainly on a learning curve,” said Beth Schultz, Ward 5 School Committee member. “I am proud that we are doing this, and taking this on.”

The policy “ensures that (transgender students) are listened to and that they have a voice,” said Assistant Superintendent Jodi Mezzanotte.

It is important to the school department that its transgender and gender-nonconforming students feel as “safe and comfortable” as every other student in Westbrook,   Mezzanotte said.


“It’s really about honoring the student’s voice. If the student wants us to address them by their preferred pronouns, this policy does that, which I really appreciate,” she said.

While students were not involved in this particular policy, Mezzanotte noted that last year students addressed a need for gender-neutral bathrooms, which the school department is now looking into.

“Our newer schools already have single-stall (gender-neutral) bathrooms,” Mezzanotte said. “We are looking at our facilities plan for our high school. We will create a gender-neutral bathroom, but the details are in progress as to how that will look and things, as the building is older.”

The policy is expected to receive final approval at the Jan. 15 School Committee meeting, held at the high school, room 114.

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