E. Aurora school board to rescind transgender policy

October 18, 2012 4:02:26 PM PDT
A backlash from parents has a suburban school district rescinding a newly-approved policy for transgender students.

The president of the East Aurora School Board told ABC7 that the board will vote Friday night to get rid of the new policy that was intended to address the needs of transgender students.

The East Aurora School Board President said that they have more than 15,000 students in the school's District 131 and that there are maybe a couple of transgender students.

She said to date they have never had a complaint from anyone including a parent about the treatment or status of a transgender student.

On Monday, the East Aurora School Board overwhelmingly voted to adopt a policy that addresses the needs of transgender students.

As a result of e-mails and phone calls from outraged parents and organizations, the board has now decided to rescind its policy.

"Every one of those parents was upset that we put this policy forward, and we are now going to go back and rescind that Friday night," said East Aurora School Board President Annette Johnson.

"I'm against a school change in the policy, yes," said parent Alice Smith. "Whether you are transgender, straight, gay, whatever, you should have the same rights as everyone else."

"It's these policies that provide an opportunity for every student to be themselves and go to school in a safe, secure environment," said Center on Halsted's Brian Richardson.

The Illinois Family Institute strongly opposed the district's new policy.

They stated "we do not believe that this policy constitutes either a helpful or compassionate response to the problems these students experience, and we do not believe that it is ethical to compel girls or boys to share restrooms with students of the opposite sex."

The board president said the transgender policy was introduced by the district assistant superintendent of education, Christine Erd, who thought it was important to implement guidelines to address when addressing transgender students and their needs.

"She said the policy needed to be updated and changed, we believed her. We had no reason not to believe her," Johnson said.

One parent told us in Spanish that everyone has a right to be treated equally and she believes the school should have a transgender policy.

The assistant superintendent of education who introduced the policy for an interview was unavailable.

The board president has apologized for introducing the policy.

The Illinois State Board of Education does not comment about certain strategies that are taken or voted on with local school boards.


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