School district updates sex harassment policy

By Katelyn Allred

Staff writer


MT. PLEASANT—The North Sanpete School District updated its sexual harassment policy to make school a safer place for LGBTQ+ students in a school board meeting Tuesday, June 19.

The policy now includes a clause that specifically prohibits sexual harassment on grounds of a student’s sexuality or gender, said Sam Ray, superintendent.

 “When students were harassed based on LGTBQ+ issues in the past, principals did their best to stop the harassment,” Ray said. “Now it will simply be in the policy to make it clear we are trying to ensure all students have a safe place to attend school.”

LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other identities. Between 1.7 and 5.7% of adults identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and about 0.3% of adults are transgender, though exact statistics are hard to pin down due to social stigma.

In the past, sexual harassment included gender defined as male or female, Ray said. Across the country and in Utah, the definition has been expanded to include LGBTQ+ students as well.

This isn’t the first policy change put in place to protect LGBTQ+ students. The district already has guidelines for teachers and administrators to interact with transgender students. This includes using a student’s preferred pronouns and not discussing a transgender student’s status without their permission. The North Sanpete High School Handbook also makes it clear that discrimination based on gender is unacceptable.

This change comes as part of a growing movement to make all people feel included and visible. The specific acknowledgement of LGBTQ+ students in the policy makes it clear that all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, will receive an equal education and safe environment in North Sanpete Schools.