District 211 superintendent's letter on trangender policy and privacy
This is the text of District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates Friday morning email explaining the Equal Educational Opportunities Policy:
Last night, the District 211 Board of Education adopted the Equal Educational Opportunities policy. Among the numerous protections within the policy, the policy grants transgender students access to the locker room of a student's gender identity without requiring the student to change clothes in a privacy area.
Beginning in September, we informed community members throughout the district of the proposed Equal Educational Opportunities policy. Over the past two months, we heard from hundreds of citizens via email and through public comments at four board meetings. We know that people's concerns and perceptions are heartfelt, on both sides of the issue, and we appreciated hearing all viewpoints as the board considered this policy.
With the policy's adoption, here is the plan for implementation:
Our current practices, including the condition that transgender students change their clothes in a privacy area in the locker room, will remain in place through the end of this semester.
Beginning with the first student attendance day of second semester on Jan. 7, 2020, we will implement the Equal Educational Opportunities policy and transgender students with a gender support plan that includes access to the locker room of the student's gender identity will no longer be required to use a privacy area as they change clothes. The privacy areas in our locker rooms will remain in place for any and all students who wish to use them.
Parents and students who request additional privacy may seek assistance from the student's guidance counselor to request one of several accommodations. Our locker rooms are large areas, and we can easily change the location of a student's locker. Any student may use one of numerous private changing areas. If desired, a student may also request a locker in a separate, different locker room.
We are fortunate to have excellent facilities in our district and caring staff members who regularly accommodate individual student needs and requests. Any student with concerns in our locker rooms or anywhere on school grounds should bring those to an administrator or the student's guidance counselor.
Whatever your view on the adoption of this policy, we all share the same goal of supporting the young people in our schools to experience the best possible learning environment and navigate the challenges and opportunities of young adulthood in healthy ways. Thank you for your support of this district and all our students.