Blair Oaks board to review transgender student policy

The Blair Oaks School Board will meet Tuesday night to hear from the public in a tax rate hearing and to discuss board policy 2115, a policy on transgender students.

Council will hold its public hearing on the tax rate at 6:45 p.m. and at 7 p.m. the regular meeting will begin.

Council Policy 2115 is under “New Business” for Tuesday’s meeting.

Policy 2115 allows transgender students to choose a name and pronoun by which to identify and to dress according to their gender identity. It also allows all students to use a gender-neutral toilet, aligned to their “biological sex” or aligned to their “self-identified gender”. It also outlines the Missouri State High School Activities Association rules for transgender athletes.

Policy 2115 has been in the spotlight for the past few months after community inquiries led to an “in-depth public comment” meeting allowing the council to hear public comment on the policy. The meeting produced impassioned statements from those who wanted the board to change or revoke the policy and from those who wanted them to keep it as is.

The policy was originally adopted in November 2020. It is a policy taken from Model Language by Missouri Consultants for Education, and a few area schools have a similar policy.

The debate is also unfolding on the state and national stage as Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt joined several other states in seeking an injunction against federal guidelines that would include ‘gender identity’ in bans. sex discrimination in Titles VII and IX. Several attorneys general have said the guidelines conflict with their state’s law enforcement regarding gender-segregated bathrooms. The court granted a preliminary injunction restraining the implementation of these guidelines. Schmitt is also involved in another similar lawsuit that is ongoing.

Other items discussed at the Blair Oaks board meeting on Tuesday are capital improvement projects, an updated drug testing policy for students and an additional school resource officer. The meeting will take place at the college library.

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