The New York Department of Education has handed down guidelines aimed at protecting transgender students and providing them with a safe learning environment, free from discrimination.
The new 10-page directive says that teachers are required to address transgender students by their preferred pronoun, whether or not they have obtained parental consent or a court order.
"Teachers and other school staff should be made aware of and honour a student’s request to be referred to by the name and gender that corresponds to their gender identity.
“It is important to note that for students who are gender non-conforming or who do not prescribe to the gender binary, they may prefer gender neutral pronouns such as they, ze, or other pronouns,” the memo reads.
The guidelines urge school administrators to assess the needs of each student on a case-by-case basis but offers advice on bathroom accessibility, dress codes and student records.
"It’s about a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment," the department’s gender-equity coordinator officer Jared Fox told the New York Daily News.
"It’s really hard to concentrate on English or math or social studies when you don’t feel like you belong."
The directive comes just days after the Trump administration revoked federal protections for transgender students.