12 March 2016
MUM HAPPY WITH STAFF’S EFFORT
The mother of a transgender student has praised the efforts by a Shepparton Catholic school to make her child’s transition as easy as possible.
Dana Sinclair says Notre Dame College’s proactivity in providing a unisex toilet for her son Alex and showing understanding around uniform arrangements had been exceptional.
The Mooroopna family has been working with the school ever since Alex made the decision to identify as male at the start of the school year last year.
‘‘That’s when we had to include the school to find out how we could meet in the middle,’’ Mrs Sinclair said.
‘‘The most immediate issue was that the only uniform they offered for females was a dress and that’s what we decided to deal with first.’’
Mrs Sinclair said the family had a series of meetings with the school to discuss the transition and that Alex was allowed to wear the male version of the summer and winter uniform.
But what most impressed Mrs Sinclair was how the school approached the issue of toilets.
During a meeting with the school, a staff member informed the family that signs on a disabled toilet at the school had been changed to read unisex.
‘‘When we had the meeting at the school about the uniform, it was then raised to change Alex’s name at the school officially,’’ she said.
‘‘On the roll and when teachers send notes home, it’s Alex and when the school calls, it’s always regarding Alex and they have been really good with that.
‘‘The teachers are taking it really seriously and have been really forthcoming with it.’’
Notre Dame College is not signed up to the Safe Schools Coalition that is currently subject to a Federal Government review.
The program is designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students in schools by promoting an anti bullying message.
But Mrs Sinclair said whether Notre Dame College was signed up or not was irrelevant to the family.
‘‘I don’t even know what it is and it doesn’t interest me if they’ve signed up,’’ she said.
‘‘All I’ve ever focused on is Alex’s needs and the school has been great with everything.’’
Damien Stevens, who coordinates Kildonan UnitingCare’s Diversity project, said Notre Dame College had been responsive, supportive and helpful regarding Alex’s transition.
‘‘The school has provided the support and resources that has uniquely allowed Alex to move forward at a pace they have been comfortable with,’’ he said.
‘‘With our Diversity project, we have support and resources here for people like Alex that allows us to work with schools and students that need it, irrespective of who has signed up to the [Safe Schools] program.’’