An elite all-boys school in Adelaide has thrown its support behind a senior who opened up to their peers about transitioning to become a female.
Prince Alfred College is allowing the year 12 student to remain at the school and complete their final year of studies.
The student, now known as Alice, has become the first transgender female student at the prestigious school.
It has been reported that principal Bradley Fenner wrote a letter to parents and caregivers on Tuesday night, advising them of Alice’s story and the schools decision to support her during her studies.
He explained that Alice, who had been a student at the school since the Early Learning Centre, stood up in front of about 150 of her peers and told them she was transgender and identified as a woman.
“The response from the year 12 cohort was, as we would have hoped and expected, both respectful and supportive,” Mr Fenner said in the letter.
“Alice has been dealing with gender dysphoria for some time and has been well supported in her journey by a range of professionals, both within and outside the college.
“We are aware of some transgender PAC Old Scholars, but Alice is the first student to transition whilst at the college.
“It was Alice’s desire and preference to remain at Prince Alfred College and we support her fully in this.”
Mr Fenner told ABC Radio Adelaide that he believed it was “very powerful” when Alice addressed her peers, telling them: “This is who I am and this is who I’ve always been/”
“It’s very much a statement about who she is,” he said.
“She said at the beginning she was sure some of them would not be surprised about this but overall we’ve been very pleased with the response. The boys have been very respectful and supportive.
“A number of the comments I’ve had back from our parents … have reflected on the great courage she has shown.”
The principal said some parents and students had raised questions and suspected some would be opposed to the decision, but he said the school knew “what was right” and was “proud” to have a transgender student enrolled.
“Our role as a school is to support all of our students and not just those who conform to the way things have always been,” he said.
Mr Fenner said the school was in discussions with Alice to determine what she was comfortable wearing but denied claims a new uniform was being designed.
The school, established in 1869, is situated in 9.8 hectares of land on the fringe of Adelaide’s CBD.
More than 800 students are enrolled at the college that has annual tuition fees starting at more than $35,000 for high school.