GARDNER, Kan. — During a Gardner Edgerton school board meeting Monday night, board member Jeff Miller requested a new policy be added to the board agenda to address students’ use of school restrooms.
Under a proposed policy Miller drafted, students and staff would be referred to based on the gendered pronouns identified on their individual birth certificate, and disciplinary action could be taken against those who chose to use a student’s preferred pronoun.
The proposed policy also outlines plans to enforce gender-exclusive use of school restrooms and changing facilities, baring transgender students from using restrooms assigned for cisgender female or male students.
According to the draft proposal, individuals who chose not to comply with the restroom policy will be provided an accommodation to use a single occupancy restroom or changing room.
“Gender identification is a distraction in the schools. The videos that are being opt-in or opt-out are inappropriate. We do have a problem with bathroom usage,” Boardmember Russ Ellis said.
Boardmember Katie Williams described the proposed policy as infuriating.
“We’re here to value every kid, and this does not value every kid. This is unacceptable to me. We just met as a team and we all agreed that we wanted to foster a culture that created trust. How is punishing a kid, or any staff member or any other human for being who they want to be, how is that going to foster trust? How is that going to foster a culture of trust in our district,” Williams said.
Superintendent Brian Huff said the school district currently provides separate gender specific restrooms for both female and male students, as well as gender neutral restrooms for individuals who chose to use them.
“We are a public school. We invite all students to participate in the educational process. Our concern is to offer every student the opportunity to have a dignified experience within our schools,” Huff said.
The board voted 5-2 to table the discussion on Miller’s proposal until Sept. 12.