Sun. Dec 4th, 2022

Gardner Edgerton college board members voted 5-2 Monday night to ban transgender college students from utilizing their most well-liked restroom or taking part in on sports activities groups that align with their gender identification, following a months-long debate. Board members Katie Williams and Greg Chapman voted in opposition to adopting the coverage.

The plan, first launched in July, initially would have required college students and workers to make use of names, pronouns, and restrooms that align with the intercourse listed on their authentic delivery certificates.

However in September, after sharp criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas claiming the plan would violate federal legal guidelines, the board revised the coverage. Below the coverage authorized Monday, college students should use the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their “gender assigned at delivery,” however workers is suggested to handle college students by their most well-liked pronouns.

A number of college students attended the assembly to talk out in opposition to the coverage. Gardner Edgerton highschool senior Elizabeth Fiedler urged board members to vote no.

“Hearken to the scholars which have come and spoken right here. There’s but to be a single scholar come and let you know that this coverage is required and that it protects them, solely ones which have confirmed up and stated ‘You’ll hurt the scholars,’” stated Fiedler. “These are youngsters making an attempt to be themselves, not predators…I’m cis, and I’m right here telling you that there are individuals being creepy in our loos – it’s not the trans college students.”

Larissa Briscoe, a junior at Gardner Edgerton Excessive Faculty, additionally addressed the board in opposition to the transgender coverage. Briscoe stated the coverage will threaten LGBTQ+ college students’ psychological well being. Transgender college students already face larger charges of suicide.

“What you guys are doing is doing extra hurt than good. Cease making an attempt to make youngsters match the established order,” stated Briscoe. “You college board members have proven me that you simply don’t care about teen suicide.”

Board President Tom Reddin voted in favor of the coverage.

“My vote is that we’re protecting all our bases first. I wish to have a protected setting for everyone. I wish to maintain all people,” stated Reddin. “However I’m getting lots of emails and stuff that this isn’t simply the transgender group, we’ve additionally acquired particular wants youngsters we wish to be certain we’re protecting.”

The ACLU of Kansas stated in a press release that the coverage violates Title IX of the Schooling Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Safety Clause of the US Structure.

“Such insurance policies are confirmed to negatively impression the psychological well being and bodily well-being of LGBTQ+ college students within the district,” the group stated. “The ACLU of Kansas has heard from a number of households within the USD 231 district with trans college students who’ve already been harmed by this coverage and the group debates surrounding it. All college students need to really feel protected and supported at college, and we’re evaluating the state of affairs in USD 231 and contemplating all applicable choices.”

D.C. Hiegert, the ACLU of Kansas’ LGBTQ+ authorized fellow, additionally spoke out in opposition to the coverage at Monday’s board assembly.

USD 231 college students deserve higher than this. At each college board assembly the place this coverage was debated, college students confirmed up and informed the board they did NOT need this coverage. And but, right here we’re. With a hateful coverage, adopted in opposition to the need of the scholars it straight impacts.

— D.C. (@DC_Hiegert) November 8, 2022

In a 5-2 vote, Board members additionally struck down $80,000 in funds so as to add unisex and People with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms to Gardner Edgerton faculties. Chapman and Williams voted to approve the funds. The district already has a number of unisex and ADA-compliant loos, and is planning so as to add extra by altering signage even with out added funding.

Reddin, who additionally voted in opposition to the restroom funds, stated the board will revisit the difficulty at their assembly subsequent month.

“I left it as a result of it looks as if there’s nonetheless extra dialogue that must be made on it,” he stated.

By Admin

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