A Kansas school board has banned almost all transgender nonsense in response to complaints from parents.
“After months of tense debate, the Gardner Edgerton school board on Monday approved a policy prohibiting transgender children from using their preferred restrooms or participating on sports teams that align with their gender identity,” The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.
“The school board voted 5-2 to approve the policy, which has sparked ongoing controversy and student protests. It states that students must use the facilities, and participate on the athletic teams, that conform with their sex at birth. School board members Katie Williams, the lone liberal on the board, and Greg Chapman voted against it,” according to the paper.
The Gardner Edgerton school board tonight prohibited transgender students from using the restrooms, or playing on the sports teams, that align with their gender identity: https://t.co/Kiwa4kAMiI
— Sarah Ritter (@sarahgritter) November 8, 2022
Local station KMBC further notes that, as an apparent act of compassion, the board is planning to make available “five unisex restrooms by the end of November for any student who wants an exception.”
So transgender students will have the option to either use the restroom that correspondents to their biological sex or use a unisex restroom.
Some parents say this solution is perfect.
“They have finally listened to the majority of our community and done what is right for the majority of the students,” local parent Brenda Thompson told local station KSHB.
But students seem to feel differently.
“We’ve never had an issue with a trans student in the bathroom that I am aware of, that any of the students I’ve talked to are aware of,” one student, Elizabeth Fielder, noted to KSHB.
“Nationwide, parents have gotten a weird obsession I feel like with locker rooms, restrooms, anything involving trans students,” one former student, Carter Robinson, added.
Indeed, KMBC notes that students “have been pushing against the idea for months” and “held a walkout in September.”
The students are backed by the ACLU of Kansas.
“The policy would not only negatively impact trans students’ mental health, it could also threaten the district’s federal funding and open the school board up to potential costly litigation. The law is on the side of trans students’ rights,” an ACLU of Kansas representative reportedly said during Monday’s school board hearing.
The ACLU has been threatening the school board for months now.
“Once again, we remind you that entertaining and debating policies that do not wholly affirm transgender students’ identities and protect their rights at school does nothing but harm the trans students in your district,” the group wrote in its most recent letter.
All students should feel safe & supported at school. We’re dedicated to protecting the civil rights of all Kansans—including trans students in our schools.
We will be at the meeting tonight, speaking out against this discriminatory policy, & encourage others to do the same. https://t.co/9NuZ2eYmq3
— ACLU of Kansas (@aclukansas) November 7, 2022
Students also spoke out during Monday’s hearing.
“Listen to the students that have come and spoken here. There is yet to be a single student come and tell you that this policy is needed and that it protects them, only ones that have showed up and said ‘You will harm the students,'” Fiedler said at the hearing, according to station KCUR.
“These are kids trying to be themselves, not predators…I am cis, and I am here telling you that there are people being creepy in our bathrooms – it is not the trans students,” she added.
“What you guys are doing is doing more harm than good. Stop trying to make kids fit the status quo. You school board members have shown me that you don’t care about teen suicide,” Larissa Briscoe, a junior at Gardner Edgerton High School, said.
Discussions over the bill reportedly began in July when board member Jeff Miller “proposed requiring teachers to use students’ birth pronouns.”
“The board instead asked district staff and legal counsel to review options for a new policy. The district came back with a proposal that has been continually scaled back over the past few months,” according to the City Star.
“The final version of the policy states that staff should keep a student’s transgender or gender-nonconforming status confidential, unless a student allows them to disclose it to their parent or guardian. Staff would notify parents, though, if a transgender student requests support measures, such as separate changing rooms,” the paper notes.
Incidentally, the final version of the bill that passed Monday contains no stipulations banning the use of special pronouns, reportedly mainly because of the ACLU’s influence.
“[A]fter a sharp objection from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and students, the policy was amended to say staff are advised to address students by their preferred pronouns,” according to the Daily Mail.
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