REVISED / Policy 713 clarified after consultations, recognizes role of parents08 June 2023
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Bill Hogan has reviewed and updated three sections of the department’s Policy 713 – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity which will take effect July 1.
“I want to thank the hundreds of New Brunswickers who took part in our consultation on updating Policy 713,” said Hogan. “We are improving three aspects of the policy to ensure it is clear and responds to the feedback received during the consultations while reflecting the role parents play in their child’s life and education.”
The policy revisions were made following consultations with parents, families, students, teachers, the Child and Youth Advocate and other key stakeholders, as well as based on the feedback of hundreds of individuals and groups who wrote submissions.
Section 6.3.1 and 6.3.2 will read as follows:
(6.3.1) School personnel will consult with a transgender or non-binary student who is 16 and over to determine their preferred first name and pronoun(s). The preferred first name and pronoun(s) will be used consistently in ways that the student has requested.
(6.3.2) Transgender or non-binary students under the age of 16 will require parental consent in order for their preferred first name to be officially used for recordkeeping purposes and daily management (EECD, school district, and school software applications, report cards, class lists, etc.). If it is not possible to obtain consent to talk to the parent, the student will be directed to the appropriate professional (i.e. school social worker, school psychologist) to work with them in the development of a plan to speak with their parents if and when they are ready to do so. If it is not in the best interest of the child or could cause harm to the student (physical or mental threat), the student will be directed to the appropriate school professional for support.
“We want to provide students, especially vulnerable students, with a safe space where they can learn and express themselves and grow, while ensuring parents also feel respected,” said Hogan. “If a student wants to change their name and/or gender identity, we will support them and help them to have the conversation with their parents, if and when they are ready.”
“In addition, a student will always have the ability to speak confidentially to a teacher and get the help they need from a supportive professional while they work through big issues like a change in gender identity,” said Hogan.
Section 6.1.5 will be clarified as follows:
All students will be able to participate in curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities that are safe and welcoming.
“The New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association does a wonderful job at overseeing high school sports for the province. They will continue to lead this work,” said Hogan.
Section 6.4.3 will be added and will read as follows:
Private universal changing areas will be available in all schools.
“Students we spoke with told us that access to private universal washrooms and changing rooms was problematic and reiterated that they are important to have in every school,” said Hogan. “This addition is in direct response to what we heard and will bring clarity to this topic.”
Hogan said the government is, and always has been dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming environment where all children are free to be themselves.
“As we stated from the outset, this review was about ensuring consistency and clarity, while respecting human rights, the safety of all students and the rights of parents. The changes made will achieve those goals,” said Hogan.
The updated policy is available online.