Arcadia mulls transgender student bathroom policy

Arcadia Superintendent Bruce Kidder, seated at table, listens Wednesday night while community members speak about a proposed policy that would allow transgender students to use the school restroom of their choosing. No decision was made by the school board, which will continue discussing the issue. (Photo by Eric Schaadt)


ARCADIA — The Arcadia school board and parents on Wednesday struggled with legal and privacy concerns about a proposed policy that would allow transgender students to use the school restroom of their choosing.

The proposed policy was prompted by a recent request from a transgender male student.

No decision was made Wednesday. The school board said it will act under the advice of its legal counsel.

In a prepared statement, Superintendent Bruce Kidder said, “We have policies dedicated to providing all students with a safe and non-discriminatory learning environment. Based on these policies, we are prepared to accommodate any student who has individual privacy or safety needs, including needs related to the use of school bathrooms.”

About 60 residents attended Wednesday’s school board meeting, held in the school cafeteria to accommodate the crowd.

Residents expressed concern about students being uncomfortable with this restroom arrangement.

Some wondered how to balance the safety and rights of each student.

One person questioned if such a policy might allow for a male to walk into a girls’ shower.

Much discussion was given to various laws addressing the matter.

A case filed against the Highland School District in Ohio was decided in favor of a transgender student in 2016.

“The times are different,” school board attorney Pat Schmitz said. “The laws for transgender students have changed.”

The board is expected to give more discussion to this matter.

“This is a learning session for us, as well,” board member Ryan George said.

In other matters, the school board discussed plans for constructing new classrooms to replace current modular classrooms.

The project is estimated to cost between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to school officials.

According to a preliminary timeline, work could begin in July with classrooms ready for use in 2019 or 2020.

Classes would be held in available class spaces while the work is underway.

In other affairs, the board approved a host of supplemental contracts, including assistant athletic director Pat Ramsey, head football coach Ethan Percer, golf coach Ron Pahl, head volleyball coach Jacquie Ramsey, head boys basketball coach Clay Baker, head baseball coach Dereck Uitto, head softball coach David Spridgeon and head track coach Jeff Breitigam.

In other business, the school board:

  • Accepted a Stitt Early Mentoring Grant of $13,972 from the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation.
  • Renewed its membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association for the 2018-19 school year.
  • Approved a senior class trip to Orlando, Florida, for April 4-7, 2019.

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