Center Grove will continue with its current policy for what bathrooms and locker rooms transgender students should use.
The school board put the current policy, where transgender students make special arrangements with school officials as needed, into writing. The decision came after questions and comments from the public in a previous meeting, a public forum that about 300 people attended and multiple calls and emails from the community, school members said.
Center Grove began considering the issue earlier this year, after the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice released guidance that said public schools should allow transgender students to use their preferred bathroom, not necessarily the one associated with their birth gender.
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The school district did not have a policy for transgender students, but students have made individual arrangements with their school, such as using the nurse’s office bathroom. Transgender students who spoke to the board previously also said they would wait to use the restroom until other students were in class.
School officials had considered several options, including transforming the current bathrooms into single-stall restrooms, allowing transgender students to decide where they want to go or ignoring the federal government’s guidance.
The school board looked at the cost of modifying its bathrooms into single stalls, but the work would be too costly, school board member Adam Norman said.
They also considered the fact that 21 states have filed lawsuits against the Department of Justice on this issue, and that no decision will likely be made until those cases make it to the Supreme Court, he said.
So, while the policy may need to change later based on those decisions, this is how the school district will handle the issue now, Norman said.
And while other schools do have different policies, officials wanted to do what was best for Center Grove, including taking into account the feedback from the community, he said.
“Our first priority is a safe, caring, nurturing environment for all our students,” he said.
Here is a look at Center Grove’s policy for transgender students using bathrooms and locker rooms:
Restrooms and locker rooms shall be accessible to all students. The use of the restrooms and locker rooms will be based on the gender as documented on the individual’s birth certificate. Students requiring or requesting accommodations or exceptions will work directly with building administrators to develop alternative accommodations.