Gender change

24th March 2000 at 00:00
IT HAS come to my attention as head that a member of staff is starting the process of a sex change. She has not told me of this, but pupils and colleagues are already noticing changes in her physical appearance and dress. What should I do?

Your first priority must be to see this teacher and, if possible, reach an agreement with her about the way forward. The

process is going to be extremely stressful and challenging for her and one has to ask whether she will be able to cope with the task of teaching while she is going through it.

The view of your governing body will be important in handling the situation, but they need to be aware of their duty to avoid discriminatory action. A numbr of issues have to be raised as

sensitively as possible. It may be that a lengthy period of absence would be advantageous. It may be in the best interests of the teacher that she should leave and take up a new post elsewhere with a new identity.

If her choice is to remain in post and working, and the

governors are happy to support it, the best policy would have to be one of complete openness from the outset. Staff, pupils and parents would have to be told frankly about the situation, in the hope that all concerned would react supportively. In deciding what to do, the best interests of the pupils must come first, however much one may sympathise with the teacher concerned.

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