Franklin, Massachusetts, School District Helps Students Transition | NECN


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Franklin, Massachusetts, School District Helps Students Transition

Franklin schools take proactive approach to helping students transition gender



    (Published Friday, Aug. 26, 2016)

    18-year-old Landon Callahan has come a long way over the past few years - battling anxiety and depression, even attempting suicide, before realizing he was much happier transitioning from a female to a male.

    Landon said, "My school, I was the first student to transition so they weren't really aware of the right practices to go by."

    But with transgender rights becoming more prominently discussed, some schools are taking a proactive approach to helping students transition more easily.

    In the Franklin school district, a letter went home to parents this week explaining, “One of our… students has socially transitioned from a boy to a girl. Social transitioning means that this student will now be living as a girl and referred to by her preferred name and with female pronouns. She lives as a girl at home, in school, and in our community.”

    The letter went on to give advice to parents on how to talk with their children about this.

    Something Landon's mother said could be very helpful.

    Elyse Callahan said, "I do find that kids in general are a lot more open to it, so it's the parents who tend to get a little stuck on how to talk to their kids."

    Parents we spoke to were surprised but mostly receptive to the letter.

    Parent Jay Hardin said, "It's a touchy subject but it's part of the world that we live in, so kudos to the school for being proactive."

    "We didn't grow up where it was okay to be gay, or it was okay to be anything like that so it's a little tougher now," said parent Sandy Stawarz.

    "I think it's a good thing recognizing that there's kids like that out there," said parent Jack Medeiros, "and hopefully that helps a kid to transition."

    The Callahans say while it should be a personal decision of how to deal with making a transition public, this is a step in the right direction.

    Landon said, "I think that it would have been helpful for me and take some pressure off me if they had already been at least a little bit more aware of some of the best practices."