Transgender Equity in the Oshkosh Area School District

Transgender and gender nonconforming students are now allowed to start their social transition without parental approval.

November 7, 2021

On Oct. 22, the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) implemented a ground-breaking change that allows teachers to refer to transgender and gender nonconforming students by their preferred names and pronouns without seeking parental permission first. 

The change specifically references Administrative Guideline 2260E, titled Supporting Students Who Are Transgender or Gender Nonconforming, which exists to ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming students are treated fairly within the district.

The change also allows the same students to request a “nickname” change without parental permission in Infinite Campus. To start the process, a student only needs to speak with a counselor or administrator. 

“While we understand that there are varying perspectives related to gender identity, we know that in order to put students first we must acknowledge and support each student’s unique needs,” the OASD press release states. “In making this change our goal is to empower students to advocate for themselves,  while ensuring that our classrooms and schools are places where all students are able to be their true selves.”

The guideline change follows the district-wide equity initiative started several years ago in line with the Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity.

Before this new update, parental permission was required for a student to have a “nickname” in their Infinite Campus profile, no matter if the student was transgender or not. However, this update can not replace the student’s legal name in their Infinite Campus profile, unless it is changed legally. It can only show up as a nickname listed in parentheses after the full legal name.

Teachers are now allowed to honor their students’ requests by using their preferred pronouns as well without seeking parental approval. 

“The purpose [of Administrative Guideline 2260E] is to help students feel accepted at school,” Jacquelyn Kiffmeyer, principal of Oshkosh North High School, stated. “We still have some procedural tasks to work out in order to fully implement changes for students, but this is a start.”

This story will be updated with reactions from students and staff soon.

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