A school board in North Dakota voted narrowly to follow a new state law that rescinds policies on trans bathroom use and affirms parents rights concerning their children’s health information.
The Grand Forks Public School Board voted 5-4 last week to rescind its previous policy allowing transgender bathroom use and withholding information about a child’s gender dysphoria from parents, said the Grand Forks Herald.
While some of the board members expressed reservations about rescinding the policy, the district superintendent said the case was clear cut.
“Law has been enacted, and as superintendent, I want to follow the law,” said Grand Forks Superintendent Terry Brenner. “I’m respectful of the board’s collective decision for and against, and they all had good reasons to vote the way they did. There’s a feeling that this may be overturned at the federal level, but until that happens, I’m certainly going to be respectful of following the democratic process.”
There was speculation that Grand Forks would follow the lead of Fargo Public Schools (FPS), which, under the leadership of Superintendent Rupak Gandhi, said it would defy the new law.
“Any concerns expressed by parents will be addressed through administration with consideration to providing the safest environment possible for all students,” an FPS spokespersons said, according to the Herald.
The FPS spokesperson affirmed the school would permit bathroom use based on the gender choice of the student, in direct violation of the law.
The law, House Bill 1522, was signed by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum in May, reports The Hill.
Specifically, the bill prevents transgender students from using a bathroom that does not comply with their biological gender at birth. It also requires schools to inform parents of any changes in the gender identity of a child.
Previously, Burgum vetoed a similar bill with much tougher language.
Burgum said the new law “largely codifies existing practices while reaffirming the First Amendment right to free speech … balancing the rights and interests of students, parents and teachers,” according to the AP.
“Under this law, we will do our best to help students within our school system,” said Grand Forks board member Bill Palmiscno, who voted to follow the law and rescind the district’s transgender policies. “I think the district will make adjustments for the kids that need them, as the law states it can do.”