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On October 26, 2016, the Buffalo Board of Education passed a new Buffalo Public School’s Gender Identity Policy with an 8 to 1 vote. The Gender Identity Policy provides guidance for staff, students, and families on how to provide a safe and supporting learning environment for all students.

“This is a proud moment for the Buffalo Public Schools,” said Eve Shippens, Citizen Action of Western New York Education Chair. “I’m glad to see that the Buffalo Board of Education sided with the best interests of our students, and did not give into fears, prejudices, and misunderstanding of LGBTQ youth.”

The policy states that “All students need a safe and supportive educational environment to progress academically and developmentally. The District is committed to fostering a safe learning environment for all students, free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender nonconformity, and gender expression. In accordance with applicable law, regulations, and guidelines, the District will ensure that students have equal access to all school programs, facilities, and activities. The District will assess and address the specific needs of each student on a case-by-case basis.”

Citizen Action of Western New York fully supports this decision as we believe all students, including transgender students, should be able to attend school in an environment free of discrimination. LGBTQ youth are often the targets of violence and bullying in school and this policy directly addresses these issues.