N.B. school board tried to make inclusive environment for transgender student but ‘more education’ needed

Sixteen-year-old Noemie LeBlanc, seen here with her mother, says she was victim of bullying at her high school because she is transgender. Shelley Steeves/ Global News

The school board where a Dieppe, N.B. high school student says she was bullied for being transgender says it has made attempts to create an inclusive environment for the student.

In a statement to Global News, Ghislaine Arsenault from the Francophone South School District says “a lot of work is being done, but more education is still required on this issue.”

READ: N.B. student says she was victim of transphobia at high school in Dieppe

Sixteen-year-old Noemi LeBlanc’s mother, Jolyne, has pulled her daughter out of Mathieu-Martin High School because of the incidents.

The Grade 11 student told Global News she was bullied by fellow students who called her “it.”

“They would just harass me and were like, ‘Oh what is in between your legs,” she said.

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Noemie also says her teachers insisted on calling her by her former name, Patrick, and play on the boys’ team in gym class.

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In response, Arsenault says a special event called ‘I am Trans’ was organized in May following an “incident of intimidation.”

“It was an opportunity to make students aware of  the victim’s reality and to denounce bullying,” she said.

“The victim was presented with a card on behalf of all the students who wanted to offer their support and express their friendship.”

WATCH: A 16-year-old high school student from Dieppe, N. B. says she’s been a victim of transphobia at her school. Shelley Steeves has more.

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N.B. student says she was a victim of transphobia at her school

Arsenault adds the school made an all-gender restroom available and created a support group for LGBTQ students and their parents.

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The school board is also training staff and has a request form for students to change their names and genders for school records.

“We want to ensure that the staff, both permanent and substitute, address our students by their preferred name and gender pronoun,” Arsenault said.

Despite the response, Noemie tells Global News she has decided not to return to the school.

The family is now looking into alternative options for Noemie’s education.

With files from Shelley Steeves

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