Transgender Student Sense Of Belonging in the Classroom: Incorporating Teacher Input for Policy Creation

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: Ricardo Garcia


The purpose of this study was to address the Metropolitan State Board of Education’s lack of support for transgender students. In doing so,solicit the recommendations of teachers from Metropolitan State Board of Education districts that would positively impact transgender students’ sense of belonging. In Metropolitan State, there are approximately 5,900 students identify as transgender. In December 2022 MSBE passed a resolution to remove the federal rules, specifically Title IX, that protects transgender students against discrimination. This resolution would penalize teachers and school leadership for teaching students in grades kindergarten through twelve about sexual orientation or gender identity that is not age or developmentally appropriate. Three themes were identified with input from individual interviews with ten MSBE teachers, one focus group of four MSBE teachers, and the review of the two-day MSBE board meeting where the resolution was passed: (a) sense of belonging, (b) professional development, and (c) teacher recommendations. The implications identified following this research project were the importance of belonging to students’ success, the lack of knowledge by MSBE leadership, faculty, and staff on how to interact with and support transgender students, and the importance of including teachers in creating school policy about transgender students. Another concern is that MSBE does not have a diversity, equity, and inclusion policy. This sends a message that, as a body, MSBE does not value or respect the diversity of all the people they are mandated to provide services to and to make recommendations for. As a result of this research project, an action plan was created to provide the Metropolitan State Board of Education with information to assist with the creation of a policy that will be inclusive of transgender students and will positively impact their sense of belonging. The first objective is to implore the MSBE members to rescind the resolution passed in December 2022, and the second objective is to provide a mandatory professional development training series to MSBE members about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, specifically transgender students, through a collaboration with the Gathering Place, a local LGBTQ+ youth organization.



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