Columbia Public Schools to address gender identity issues

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools will talk about new policies on gender at the Board of Education meeting on September 14.

Currently CPS has a policy against discrimination and has gender-neutral bathrooms for transgender students to use.

Proposed amendments would add "gender equality" and "gender expression" to the policy anywhere gender is noted.

Hillsboro High School students walked out Monday to protest transgender student Lila Perry's use of the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms. The walkout followed a School Board meeting in which parents said they fear Perry is getting special treatment.

Cathy Serino, a member of the transgender community, said there should be no debate over the issue.

"She is a girl, she should be using the girls' bathroom. It's a basic function and we should be using the bathrooms that we identify with."

Jefferson City Public Schools currently has no policy in place that deal with issues concerning gender identity.

If school districts do not allow students to use a bathroom for the gender with which they identify with they could come into conflict with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.