Eastern Lancaster County school board delays ‘biological sex’ policy

The board voted 6-3 to put off the policy until the fall

  • Ed Mahon, PA Post

In the face of legal concerns, Eastern Lancaster County school board members decided to delay implementing a “biological sex” policy for changing areas and bathrooms.

The student privacy policy, with a “biological sex” addendum, would prohibit transgender students from using the locker room or bathroom that matches their gender identity.

Multiple court cases have gone against such policies that limit the rights of transgender students.

In one Allegheny County case, the district lost in court and agreed to pay $20,000 each to three former students, plus $75,000 for their attorneys’ fees.

Board members approved the new policy in April but delayed putting it into effect until May 14. Then on Monday, they voted 6-3 to further delay the policy until the fall semester.

More than 100 people attended the school board meeting on Monday. Several community members spoke at the meeting, including some who urged board members to provide a separation based on “biological sex.”

“We will all stand and give an account on where we came down on this issue. Do not … be on the wrong side of history. Do not be on the wrong side of God,” Stu Martin, a father of children in the district, told the board.

Stu Martin, 55, attended an Eastern Lancaster County school board meeting on April 15, 2019.

Stu Martin, 55, attended an Eastern Lancaster County school board meeting on April 15, 2019.

Robert Hollister, the district superintendent, raised multiple concerns about enforcing the policy. He told the board he would not discipline transgender students who refused to comply with the new policy.

“It would be a violation of the law, as I understand it as a superintendent,” Hollister said, adding, “I won’t ask the administrators to pull the transgender student out of those areas, because of the ramifications of that, because of trampling on that student’s rights.”

Robert Hollister, a superintendent in Eastern Lancaster County School District, speaks during a meeting on March 14, 2019.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

Robert Hollister, a superintendent in Eastern Lancaster County School District, speaks during a meeting on March 14, 2019.

Paul Irvin, a school board member, voted in favor of the “biological sex” policy last month. On Monday, he voted to delay it.

“You could tell in listening to the administration that they were uncomfortable trying to administer it and thought … they would be unable to administer it fairly,” Irvin said.

Lisa Garrett is the mother of a student in the district and of a recent graduate. She supports allowing transgender students to use the facilities that match their gender identity.

“Both of my children support that. Their friends support it,” Garrett said. “I’ve heard numerous students say they’re in favor of it. It does not bother them. It bothers a small handful.”

She was glad that board members voted to delay the policy.

Lisa Garrett is seen following an Eastern Lancaster County school board meeting on May 13, 2019.

Ed Mahon / PA Post

Lisa Garrett is seen following an Eastern Lancaster County school board meeting on May 13, 2019.

 

 

 

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