East Aurora School Board strikes down transgender policy

Fri. October 19, 2012 8:05 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

Aurora, IL - The East Aurora School Board on Friday rescinded a week old policy addressing the needs of the school's transgender students.

The board had voted Oct. 15 to approve Policy 715.13, but came under intense pressure from anti-LGBT organizations - including the Illinois Family Institue - and individuals that opposed the policy.

"The board's decision to rescind the policy threatens the safety of our Transgender students and students may not conform to gender norms," stated Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. "We will now take the necessary steps toward (TCRA) overturning this decision. Health, safety, and wellness are human rights entitled to all individuals regardless of gender expression or identity and must be upheld in order to promote and provide a safe space for transgender and gender non-conforming students in the East Aurora Public Schools."

On Friday, TCRA met with members of the school board, the lawyer for the Board, and other representatives to discuss rescinding the policy, which TCRA hoped the board members would vote to uphold.

Equality Illinois also urged the East Aurora School Board to stand fast against the Illinois Family Institute, which is designated as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The board said Friday that the new policy was passed prematurely and plans to review it further.

If upheld, the policy would have allowed transgendered and gender non-conforming students the right to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender-related identity. The student would have also been allowed the right to be addressed by the name they want to be called without having a court-ordered name or gender change.

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) 90% of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe in their school because of their gender identity and 63% because of their gender expression.