Guideline to Policy

On Monday November 7 a board meeting was held to discuss the transgender guideline. The meeting ended with a 5-2 vote and the policy passed.


Madeline Clark, Editor-in-chief

A new transgender policy was voted on and approved at the Monday, November 7 board meeting. The meeting opened with D.C Hiegert, the LGBTQ plus legal with the ACLU of Kansas who expressed concerns about the proposed transgender guidelines/policy.

“Since I was last here in September I’m aware that the board has further revised the guidelines and while some of the very harmful aspects of the guidelines have been removed the current proposed guidelines still violate the rights of trans students and place them at risk in your schools,” Hiegert said.

Courts that have considered the transgender guidelines held that title nine prohibits districts from adopting discriminatory policies. Trans students’ rights are protected under title nine and the proposed policy infringes those rights.

“We want to highlight the clear legal issues with the restroom provision, as we mentioned in our September letters a restroom policy like the one proposed banning trans students from using the restroom that aligns to their gender violates title nine and the equal protection clause of the U.S constitution,” Hiegert said. “The policy would not only negatively impact trans students’ mental health but could also threaten the district’s federal funding and open the school board up to potentially costly litigation”.

Senior student Elizabeth Fiedler and a GSA member spoke at the board meeting as an advocate for trans students.

“I have been speaking at these meetings since the board proposed this policy. I have been a part of this school district since I was in kindergarten and the one message I have consistently been taught is actions have consequences,” Fiedler said. “Tonight your actions have consequences too more significant than any situation you have presented me, with your choices tonight is one between allowing students to suffer at home if their parents are notified inadvertently or advertently. We are trying to compromise with you and the one thing we keep asking is to not be punished at home for a representation at school”

More students spoke about the issue following Fiedler. Junior Larissa Brisco spoke for the third time at a board meeting to speak about the trans policy against trans students.

“The reason I keep coming back is that I’m tired of people discriminating against other people because of their differences,” Brisco said. “I’m tired of other people being scared that someone will hurt them because of their differences, I’m tired of adults dismissing us when we try to vocalize our opinions”.

I am pleading and begging to these school board members to not let this policy pass, I do not want to witness losing any students because of this policy,” Brisco said. “What you guys are doing is doing more harm than good”.

After many speeches from students at the podium, the board took the floor. The board began the discussion with the topic of unisex restrooms. All of the unisex restrooms will be made accessible and available to all students. Within the next month, there will be a total of eight unisex restrooms. 

“And we’re expanding the number of vape sensors that we have,” Dr. Brian Huff, superintendent, said. “It’s altogether a plan to try and create more restrooms and also a safer environment”. 

After some discussion, the board motioned to 9.2 the transgender guideline. 

“Could we even really be discussing it since we don’t have a way for assisting the children in using part of what the policy is going to pertain to? I have no desire to push it off another month,” Greg Chapman, board member said.

While not all the restrooms will be converted three to five will be converted immediately using signs. Board member Katie Williams took the reins and began the discussion.

“So, first of all, we had the opportunity to discuss the guideline in the October meeting and nobody really had much to say about it but then after the meeting. Some changes had been made,” Williams said.

Dr. Huff then began to outline some of the changes that had been made to the transgender policy.

“The changes under definitions and support measures we struck the last sentence in that section that said the student transgender status alone is not a medical condition that qualifies as a legal disability that requires accommodation under section 504 the rehabilitation act the 1973 section 504 the Americans of Disabilities Act that was at recommendation of our lawyer,” Huff said.

Gender Identity was the next section discussed.

“The last sentence there that says the student must consistently and uniformly assert their gender identity was struck and under records the last sentence there was modified, “ Huff said. “It said before that a student’s chosen name may be added to the student’s information system to be used in informal settings at the parent’s request that was changed to, a student chosen name may be added to the student’s information system to be used in informal settings with the parent’s consent.” 

A sentence was also added to the end of that paragraph that states

“Parents who wish for staff to only use the name of the student in information systems SIS for their child may request to have an icon added to the student information system notifying staff to only use the name in the student information system for their child”

The next section struck was responding to requests for student measures under the bulleted section.

“The third bullet was struck saying being transgender does not in itself represent disability but there may be a diagnosis that reciprocates the need for additional education service referral this is related to the portion that was struck earlier in the document,” Huff said.

The next section that was discussed was Accessibility. It read students may use the restroom or locker room that conforms to the students’ sex at birth and changed to students will only the restroom or locker room that conforms to the students’ sex at birth. A sentence was also added to this section that reads The usage of any restroom locker room or changing room that does not conform to the students’ sex at birth will not be permitted.

After the board examined and reviewed the policy, it was voted in on and any change discussed during the meeting was made. The motion and second to change it from a guideline to a policy was made and the guideline became a policy with a vote of 5-1. The final policy was voted on 5-2 and the policy was approved. Below is the current transgender policy.