The platform used for remote learning in Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board has inadvertently “outed” some transgender and non-binary students by displaying their given names to their peers.
Those who have chosen to learn remotely can see the legal names provided to the school board when students are registered, which for some could have been when they were in elementary school.
Student Trustee Ethan Hesler said transgender and queer students were "outed" in front of their peers because their legal names were displayed on the Microsoft Teams platform.
Stephanian admits it was an issue and said the board has been working with IT to address it#HamOnt
— Bobby Hristova (@bobbyhristova) October 26, 2020
These circumstances were brought to light by one HWDSB trustee at a board meeting on Monday.
Ethan Hesler said that the legal names of students often appear on MS Teams although some students may go by different names now.
Hesler told CBC News that these occurrences present a potentially dangerous situation for transgender and queer students.
The school board said that they have been working with IT and the social workers assigned to processes, procedures, and specifics related to LGBTQIA+ students.
It’s unknown how many students were unexpectedly “outed” by the circumstance. This all comes while HWDSB is reviewing bullying in schools and released a student survey about how bullying has changed during COVID-19.
HWDSB is working to ensure no more transgender and non-binary students are put in the position of being unexpectedly “outed” to their peers.