Parent Questions Octorara’s Transgender Student Guidelines at Board Meeting

transgender© pixelshot / Canva

ATGLEN, PA —A concerned parent spoke out at Monday night’s Octorara Area School District’s Board of Directors Meeting, questioning why the district enacted guidelines related to transgender students without public discussion.

The mother of five was concerned about how the guidelines will impact both parents and students, and wanted to know why the district didn’t go through the Board’s Policy Committee, have a public discussion, and have the Board vote before enacting any practices. She noted that while the district had gone through a similar process for other topics, this had not been done for these transgender guidelines.

Of specific concern to the Sadsbury Township, Lancaster County resident was that the guidelines acknowledge a student’s gender identity and makes counseling and other services available without parental consent. The parent wanted to understand how the district needs parental consent for virtually everything else, from an Individualized Education Program to simply giving the student Tylenol for a headache, but nothing when related to gender identity. She believes parents need to be part of such a sensitive issue.

In 2016, Brian Fox, now Board President, proposed a transgender policy for the Octorara Area School District. The Policy Committee worked on the policy for several months, but after details were made public and the District reached out to legal counsel, the policy was shelved and never received a Board vote. The proposed policy would have allowed transgender students to use the restroom and locker room of their choice.

Board members did not publically comment on the parent’s concerns but there was an indication that Dr. Michele M. Orner, Superintendent of Schools, would answer her questions via email.

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