Governor Issues Executive Order Directing ISBE and New Task Force to Develop Policy Recommendations and Resources Intended to Support Transgender Students

On June 30, 2019, the last day of Pride Month and the same day as Chicago’s Pride Parade, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued executive order 2019-11, requesting that ISBE develop guidance and model policies regarding transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students, and establishing a corresponding task force to create policy recommendations regarding the same subject.  Among other motivating concerns, the executive order cites to a survey’s finding that 70% of such students report experiencing discriminatory policies or practices at school, and 80% report feeling unsafe at school.

The executive order asks ISBE to issue non-regulatory guidance on the legal rights of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students in schools, as well as model policies and other resources establishing best practices for inclusion.  When preparing the model policies, ISBE is to focus on issues like preferred pronouns, bathroom access, PE classes, student records, and dress codes.  The “Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force” will develop policy and practice recommendations for ensuring “welcoming, safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments.”  The 25-member task force will be comprised of students, parents, teachers, school administrators, lawyers, medical professionals, and representatives from community-based organizations.

The executive order instructs the task force to produce its final report by January 1, 2020, but does not identify a deadline for publication of ISBE’s guidance and resources.

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