Troy board hears from public on transgender policy

Most who speak oppose decision, but members say they are following law.

Board members Monday night continued to say they are following the advice of lawyers by allowing a student who previously attended schools as a female but now identifies as a male to use the male restroom at the junior high school.

The accommodation decision announced Aug. 28 by Superintendent Eric Herman was followed by protests — by supporters and opponents — daily outside the Board of Education office. District officials said federal Title IX prohibits the district from denying a request to use a restroom that matches the student’s gender identity.

“I recommend you refuse the Title IX money and increase my taxes. I’d be happy to pay added taxes,” parent James Meyer said to applause. A couple other speakers said they, too, would be willing to pay more taxes for local control over the decision.

Parent Jessica Minesinger said her family, including three children at the junior high and high school, discussed the transgender debate.

“We have no fears about our children’s privacy being compromised,” she said, adding her children understand if they feel uncomfortable using the restroom at school they have access to the more private facilities.

“I appreciate you protecting the rights of all students, including mine,” Minesinger said.

Around 75 people attended the meeting, many questioning the board’s authority to implement the policy. Several urged the board to reconsider its position. Of 23 people who spoke to the board, four supported the policy.

The board explained it did not vote on the policy, but was implementing a policy on the district’s books since the early 2000s. The policy wasn’t an issue until a student came forward and asked for its implementation in August.

Board member Joyce Reives said the decision the board made was to follow the law.

“We are always for adherence to the law, the law as we understand it,” she said.

Steve Alexander, resident, said from what he had read about other districts’ and handling of transgender students, “it seems that Troy …has taken a larger step than other school districts in the Dayton area.”

Board President Doug Trostle said that in many cases where the transgender restroom issue has come up, the parent was agreeable to a student using a single use restroom.

“If the parent and child are not willing and just want that inclusion, that is when it became the bigger case that we are being confronted with today,” he said.

After about one hour and 40 minutes of comments, board members thanked the community for its comments. A frequently asked questions about transgender students information sheet was also made available to parents. The questions and answers can see seen on the district website at www.troy.k12.oh.us/docs/Informational%20FAQ.pdf

“We are open to conversations. Nothing is forever,” Trostle said. “We will respond to questions but may not be able to offer you the answer you want.”

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