More than 500 people have voiced their opinion on the Public School District’s proposed sexual orientation and gender identity policy. That’s how many responded to an online survey on the policy, which is meant protect students who self-identify as transgender or gay. Another 30 or so packed Tuesday night’s board meeting, so Chair John Lehners says they took the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions.
“People believe that after this legislation we’re going to boys continually going into girls’ bathrooms and they’re going to have boys playing on girls’ sports teams, and then there’s not going to be any sports teams and we’re not going to be able to use [the words] ‘mom and dad’ anymore in school and parents aren’t going to have any control or say.”
The board will spend the next two weeks incorporating the feedback into the final policy, which will be presented on February 23rd. It was started after the province passed Bill 10 in March 2015, which gave students the right to have Gay-Straight Alliances in schools.
“I’d like to strike a balance between respecting the needs of those children and recognizing it is a small minority that still needs to be respected,” explains Lehners. “We also need to respect the rights of people who don’t have that, so if we can find the balance, that’s what we’re looking for.”
Lehners says there are already a few students who identify as transgender in the school district, and they’re already being accommodated. While he understand parents have concerns, he believes they won’t notice a change.