Four Eastern Lancaster County school board members will discuss student privacy Feb. 28 following a public outcry over a transgender student’s desire to use the boys’ restrooms and locker room at Garden Spot High School.
Details of the meeting — the first of at least three — are yet to be ironed out, as of Wednesday evening.
Here’s what you may have missed up to this point.
What’s the issue?
Administrators have allowed a high school student who was born female but identifies as male to use the boys’ restrooms and locker room this year.
The district has added private changing stalls to the boys’ locker room and made available an alternative locker room for students who are uncomfortable changing in the same area as the transgender student.
In response to a public outcry over how it’s accommodated the student, the district created a four-member committee to review student privacy districtwide.
Who’s on the committee?
Board members Dina Maio, Bryan Naranjo, Gary Buck and Thomas Wentzel.
What have people said?
The school board meeting on Jan. 28 was packed with about 250 residents, many of whom were concerned with the transgender student using boys’ facilities. LNP checked in with four of them — two supporting and two against the district’s decision — during the meeting.
New Holland residents Art Monroe, 45, and his 13-year-old son, Edward, both criticized the district for accommodating the student.
“I don’t think we should redefine the basic biology to fit one’s gender choices,” Edward said.
LeKross Ortiz, a transgender man who came to support a friend who spoke to the board, said using the restroom is “a basic human right.”
“He just wants to use the bathroom,” Ortiz, 30, of Lancaster, said. “And I think that’s what they’re missing.”
What has the district said?
This is somewhat new territory for the rural, 97-square-mile school district. And it’s been “challenging,” district solicitor Jeff Litts of Kegel Kelin Almy & Lord has said.
“At this point, we must deal with the reality that courts have strongly favored allowing transgender students being able to use the restrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity,” Litts told the crowd at last month’s meeting.
What does the district hope to accomplish?
District Superintendent Bob Hollister told LNP following the Jan. 28 meeting that the board and administration are “striving earnestly to find a solution that works for all.”
Tonight, the board “may begin looking at policy ideas around ‘student privacy’ for all students which could result then in facility changes that the District could make,” Hollister said in an email Wednesday.