A Kansas school district voted Monday to ban transgender students from using bathrooms and competing on sports teams that don’t match their birth gender.
After months of debate, the Kansas City-area Gardner Edgerton School Board voted 5-2 in favor of the new policy, which requires students to use the restroom or locker room that matches their “gender assigned at birth.”
The policy also requires parental approval for a student’s name or pronouns to be changed on official documents, according to a news report by radio station KCUR.
However, the policy also advises staff in the district to use transgender students’ preferred pronouns, a provision that was not in the original draft policy.
“My vote is that we’re covering all our bases first. I want to have a safe environment for everybody. I want to take care of everybody,” said board President Tom Reddin, who voted in favor of the policy. “But I’m getting a lot of emails and stuff that this isn’t just the transgender community; we’ve also got special-needs children we want to make sure we’re covering.”
The ACLU of Kansas reportedly claimed in a statement the new policy will harm students and violates Title IX and the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.
Some students spoke out against the new policy, calling it a non-issue.
“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,” student Elizabeth Fielder told local television station KSHB.
“Nationwide, parents have gotten a weird obsession, I feel like, with locker rooms, restrooms, anything involving trans students,” claimed student Carter Robinson. “It’s just a matter of what they decide is dangerous without actually having evidence on. Or deciding, or having factual-based dangers behind and it ends up hurting other kids like me, you know?”
But in fact, serious crimes have been committed when bathroom policies are loosened.
The Lion previously reported on a case in Loudoun County, Virginia in which a biological male dressed as a girl sexually assaulted a biological female in the girls’ restroom, made possible in part by the district’s bathroom policy.
The male student was ultimately convicted in the assault – as well as a similar assault at a different school only months after the first incident.
In the case of the Kansas district, while some spoke out against the new policy, others said it was in the best interest of the majority of the district’s students and was not directed specifically at transgender students.
“They have finally listened to the majority of our community and done what is right for the majority of the students,” Brenda Thompson, a parent in the district, told KSHB. “This is not, you know, direct measures at them (transgender students). This is for our school district as a whole and what the majority would like to see.”