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A new document released by Manitoba Education will help the Hanover School Division going forward, as it looks at continuing to provide support for transgender and gender diverse students.

Superintendent Randy Dueck says the document provides recommendations on how to support students and keep them safe in the school community.

"We've been aware for many years of kids in our division who are either transitioning gender or gender diverse and we've been doing our best to work together with those kids to provide support for those kids and will continue to do that. It's just a new document, a new resource that's become available to us and we want to take that into consideration."

2016 01 hsdofficeDueck notes though it's a part of a larger conversation, this document serves to provide guidelines on how to support students and their learning needs while making sure they're kept safe in the school community.

Tony Tavares is the diversity education consultant with the Instruction, Curriculum, and Assessment Branch of Manitoba Education. Tavares says the document is a tool for divisions to draw on and use to formulate their own protocols and guidelines. He notes there are 11 guidelines for schools and school divisions.

"Essentially one of the key things is respecting the individual process, respecting that different students and different families will have different needs. So, respecting that is key. The other piece is obviously working with the students and the parents to make sure that things proceed appropriately and that privacy and other concerns are addressed. The other piece is to listen to the concerns and requests of the accommodations. In essence, the document as a whole is of utility and all of the guidelines are kind of linked, but these are the three that I've highlighted as probably the most important."

Tavares adds for students to do well academically, socially, and personally, they need to feel they're respected, safe, and welcome in their school community.

Dueck says conversations about gender diversity and transgender inclusivity will continue noting at some point the division will develop a policy around gender diversity, He adds they want to continue being inclusive of every student in the division so each student loves learning, enjoys their school community, and feels safe.

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