Blaine County hears divided testimony on transgender policy

The Blaine County School Board could vote on a transgender student policy on July 12, after hearing divided testimony on the proposal Tuesday night.

Transgender symbolThe Idaho Mountain Express has full coverage from Tuesday’s trustee meeting.

Ten speakers urged the board to adopt the policy, the Mountain Express reported. Shannon Robertson — a recent Wood River High School graduate, who identifies as neither male nor female — said the policy would have fostered a safer school environment.

Others urged the board to reject or table the policy. Hailey resident Ron Brown said the policy would violate student privacy and expose the district to legal liability.

The board could take up the policy again at its July 12 meeting, the Mountain Express reported.

Blaine County modeled its proposal after transgender student guidelines released last year by the Idaho School Boards Association. Under the ISBA guidelines, students would not be required to use facilities that conflict with their gender identity, and students could opt to use private or separate facilities.

The ISBA language is virtually identical to transgender facilities guidelines issued in May by the Obama administration. Those guidelines drew fire from Republicans in Idaho and other states. Last month, Gov. Butch Otter said the state would file a court brief supporting a lawsuit challenging the federal guidelines.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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