Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Students

If you would like to comment on the draft guidelines for the Policy Implementation Procedure (PIP) J-2 PIP-2 for Transgender Students in Schools, please complete the feedback form by September 30.

APS School Board Policy Information: Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Students

Arlington Public Schools recognizes that all students have the right to be treated equally and fairly with dignity and respect as unique individuals, free from discrimination, harassment and bullying based on their gender identity and gender expression.

On July 1, 2019, the final Policy Implementation Procedure (PIP) J-2 PIP-2 for Transgender Students in Schools was posted on the School Board’s policy page. These school-based procedures provide APS staff with guidance to ensure compliance with School Board policy, J-2 Student Equal Educational Opportunities-Nondiscrimination.

Draft Guidelines for J-2 PIP-2 Transgender Students in Schools

Staff in the Department of Teaching and Learning (DTL) have since developed draft guidelines to disseminate with the PIP as a resource for school-based staff. View the following links to view the draft guidelines: English | Espanol.

The feedback form is available in English and Spanish until Monday, September 30, 2019. APS will conduct an assessment with school-based staff and review comments received from the community and advisory groups to determine if adjustments are needed. The final guidelines will be posted in early 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

What is the status of the Policy Implementation Procedure for Transgender Students in Schools?

On July 1, 2019, the final Policy Implementation Procedure (PIP) J-2 PIP-2 for Transgender Students in Schools was posted on the School Board’s policy page. These school-based procedures provide APS staff with guidance to ensure compliance with School Board policy, J-2 Student Equal Educational Opportunities-Nondiscrimination. Staff in the Department of Teaching and Learning have since developed draft guidelines to disseminate with the PIP as a resource for staff.

The J-2 PIP-2 draft guidelines are now available for community comment via the feedback form available. The feedback form is available in English and Spanish through Monday, September 30, 2019. APS will conduct an assessment with school-based staff and review comments received from the community and advisory groups to determine if adjustments are needed. Final guidelines will be posted in early 2020.

What is the purpose?

In keeping with our mission, the purpose of these documents is to ensure that all students, including transgender students, have safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments. The PIP was created to provide school-based staff procedures to ensure compliance with School Board policy, J-2 Student Equal Educational Opportunities-Nondiscrimination. The draft guidelines are an additional resource for school staff implementing the procedures onsite at schools.

How are schools handling restrooms and privacy for all students?

Access to facilities that correspond to a student’s gender identity will be available to all students. School principals will also identify single-user, gender neutral restrooms that will be available to all students who seek privacy. These restrooms will be marked with specific signage on doors showing restrooms are available to all students. Restrooms will be accessible to students without special codes or keys. Students will be notified that these restrooms are available for their use.

Will there still be student restrooms with male and female signage for students to use, as in the past?

Yes, access to restrooms that correspond to a student’s gender identity will continue to be provided to all students. In addition, schools will provide access to single-user, gender neutral restrooms for students who seek privacy.

How are schools handling locker rooms and privacy for all students?

Students will have access to the locker room facility that corresponds to their gender identity. If a student requests increased privacy for any reason, school staff will offer access to a reasonable accommodation, such as:

  • A separate changing schedule;
  • Use of a private area in the facility (e.g., a restroom stall with a door or an area separated by a curtain);
  • Use of a nearby private area (i.e., nearby restroom or health suite); or
  • Assignment of a student locker near a staff office or a supportive peer group.

Who did APS consult with in the development of the guidelines?

The Draft Guidelines followed the same documentation used to create the J-2 Transgender PIP-2, including the 2016 National School Board Association publication on Transgender Students in Schools. In addition, the Draft Guidelines are being shared with school staff, advisory groups and community members for use and comment in the fall 2019. Adjustments will be made as needed and shared as an update in early 2020.

Will teachers still be able to group students by gender – for example, boys in this line, girls in this line?

No reference has been included on the guidelines to refer to grouping students by gender. However, be aware that transgender students must be allowed to join the gender group with which that student identifies. It could be considered a violation of Title IX to deny the student a right to participate in a class activity with the sex with which that student identifies, as Title IX has been found to protect against discrimination based on nonconformity to gender stereotypes.

How will you handle student confidentiality and communication with parents about gender preference?

Transgender and gender-nonconforming students have the right to discuss and express their gender Identity and expression openly and decide when to share information, with whom, and how much to share. If a student transitioning at school is not ready to share with their family about their transgender status, this should be respected. Counselors will work with students to help them share their transgender status with family when they are ready to do so. Our number one goal and priority is to foster the success of all students and ensure they feel safe, secure, accepted and ready to learn at school.

Are the APS Family Life Education (FLE) instructional materials related to transgender topics available for review by parents/guardians?

Per Virginia Code §22.1-207.2. FLE, parents and guardians have the right to review the FLE curriculum. The majority of FLE instruction is delivered in health education. On the rare occasion when FLE content is delivered in other courses, the Code of Virginia (§22.1-207.2) still applies.

Can students opt out of instruction related to transgender lifestyles?

Instruction related to transgender is located in the Family Life Education unit. Per Virginia Code §22.1-207.1. Family Life Education (FLE), parents and guardians have the right to excuse their child from all or part of family life education instruction. The APS Opt-Out procedures can be found on the FLE website.


For additional information or questions, please contact the Office of Student Services at 703-228-6062.