Gender Toolkits Approved by Minnesota Dept. of Education

MDE says the toolkits are not mandatory rules.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gender toolkits are officially making their way to Minnesota schools.

According to KSTP, the Minnesota Department of Education has approved the distribution of the gender toolkit in Minnesota schools.

Alpha News reported on the introduction the toolkits when they were first introduced as a possibility in May.

The toolkit provides advice and standard practices for schools that have students who identify as gender nonconforming or have a different gender identity than their assigned sex at birth. Details include how schools should handle overnight trips with school sport teams and student housing.

In May, Josh Collins, the Director of Communication for the Minnesota Department of Education told Alpha News the toolkit will not be implemented as standard procedures that schools must follow.

“The toolkit is a collection of resources and best practices for school districts and charter schools on a topic that has generated questions from schools across the state,” Collins told Alpha News. “The toolkit does not serve as guidance, direction, statute or rule; it is intended to provide additional information for districts to consider as they make their own locally-determined policies.”

The toolkits are based on Obama-era orders that required all schools to allow transgender and gender nonconforming students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender they identify with, a rule that was repealed when President Donald Trump entered office.

When the repeal of the original rule took place, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called on school boards to create their own guidelines.

“I ask Minnesota school districts to look carefully at the results of the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, published by the Minnesota Department of Education that says that transgender students are decidedly less likely to feel safe in our schools, and that they are subject to greater discrimination, harassment, and bullying, despite Minnesota’s statutes,” Dayton said in a press release in February. “And more than half of all transgender students and lesbian and gay students in Minnesota have seriously considered attempting suicide, according to this survey. These are vulnerable people with very challenging life circumstances. They deserve our compassion and our support – not our attacks and demonization.”

There is no word on when the toolkits will be distributed to schools in Minnesota.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.