LGBT students on field trips

For many years, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students have been reluctant to go on overnight field trips, through wondering about with whom they would room, concerns about bullying, and not wanting to experience backlash. Other students have accepted rooming situation which may have made them feel uncomfortable, or unsafe, or excluded.

The Office of Student Services for FCPS has said recently that they are committed to equity and equal access in field trips: that is, that the school system wants to be sure all students can go on field trips. They are open to students rooming with their accepted gender, with students having much input into their roommate situation to be sure they are not bullied, to respecting students’ confidentiality and privacy, and, if extra expense is involved, being sure that that expense does not fall as a burden on the transgender or gay student or their family. The current thinking is to get word out to Directors of Student Activities and Principals on these ideas, so they can inform teachers making room assignments and work with teachers, students and families, and to remove room assignments from the tasks that boosters conduct and return them to FCPS staff. The Department of Student Services spoke of being sure that a student’s gender identity is established through a counselor, rather than simply being made clear to the teacher.

My advice is that teachers contact their principal and/or their Director of Student Services and Director of Student Activities. County Student Services says they will work through the latter to get word out about current policies

This is an emerging conversation, and much depends on the regulations coming out in 2016. Any input is welcome, email robertrigbyjr@yahoo.com