Schools respond to Trump's transgender bathroom directive reversal

1 month 4 weeks 2 hours ago February 23, 2017 Feb 23, 2017 Thursday, February 23 2017 Thursday, February 23, 2017 6:36:00 PM CST in News
By: Lauren Petterson, KOMU 8 Reporter
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NEW FRANKLIN - President Donald Trump reversed President Barack Obama's directive on transgender students being able to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. This means public schools will no longer have to let transgender students use the bathroom of their choosing. In mid-Missouri, some public schools are not making immediate changes as a result of this. 

New Franklin R-1 Schools Superintendent David Haggard said Trump's stance won't really affect his schools. He said he does not know of any students within the district who identify as transgender.

Haggard said they do have a plan in place for if the district were to have a transgender student.

"We do have several bathrooms, individual bathrooms throughout the school here," Haggard said.

Even though New Franklin does not have any transgender students that Haggard knows of, he said some students choose to use the individual restrooms.

"Occasionally kids go back there to use the bathroom for whatever reason here. They go to the bathroom, it’s not that big of a deal," he said. "But that’s what we would do if we did have one identify. Just make sure that they know that they can use those."

Haggard said concerns about the issue in the past have come from parents, not students.

“Young people are very open to you know, everybody doing their own thing here. It’s not as big of an issue for young people I think as it is for adults here. You know, there are some potential safety concerns that I know moms and dads have, but I don’t really see those concerns coming from students here," Haggard said. 

When asked if a transgender woman could use the women's restroom, he did not specify if they could or could not.

“They would be able to use a restroom," Haggard said. "If we’re trying to address our needs to just go to the bathroom I think that’s there - it would be okay. If they’re saying, 'I want to use that particular bathroom,' then I think it kind of moves from a need to use a bathroom to making a point here. I don’t have any problem with the kids, and really all our bathrooms have individual stalls in there anyway. Most of our homes don’t have the bathroom for my wife and the bathroom for me. You close the door and you do your thing.”

Haggard said when it comes to locker rooms, it's a non-issue. 

"It’s rare that students, at least ours, ever take showers anymore here," he said. 

Haggard said there are about 125 students in the high school and about 100 students in the middle school in New Franklin. 

“If we had two transgender kids, which would be about three times the national average, they could still each have a bathroom to accomplish their needs here,” he said.

Ultimately, Haggard said it's going to come down to what the state decides.

“One of things that the president said is that he thought it would be important for states to make the decision here," Haggard said. "I don’t know how Missouri will decide, but school policies are basically developed by the board and the board depends greatly on how the state legislature makes the laws here."

On a phone call, Jefferson City Public Schools Director of School and Community Relations Amy Berendzen said JCPS is not making any immediate changes based on the president's order.

Berendzen also said JCPS is waiting on further court decisions because there are still ongoing court cases related to transgender students being able to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. 

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