MONTGOMERY -- While the federal government is telling schools they must permit transgender students to use the bathroom and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity, a state school board member is pushing for the opposite.
Guidance from leaders at the U.S. departments of Education and Justice suggests public schools are obligated to treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, even if their education records or identity documents indicate a different sex, the Associated Press reported today.
Matt Brown, a Republican from south Alabama, on Thursday presented the board with a draft resolution stipulating K-12 public school students have to utilize school restrooms and locker rooms that correspond “to that student’s biological sex, as recorded on the student’s birth certificate.”
Students participating in school athletics do so on the team that corresponds with their biological sex, unless a female student seeks to participate on a male team when female team is not available for that sport, according to the resolution. It goes on to issue guidance for students “whose biological sex characteristics are irresolvably ambiguous.”
The resolution was not on the BOE’s Thursday work session agenda and discussion was quickly halted by vice-president Jeff Newman, who represents the Shoals, Lawrence County and part of Limestone County.
Newman later said the resolution wasn’t vetted by the department’s legal staff and didn’t go through the proper channels.
“It’s something (Brown) did on his own,” Newman said. “… A resolution really holds no weight. If that’s going to be addressed, it needs to be addressed in the law (by the Legislature). Besides that, local boards set their policies.
“To me that shouldn’t even be written about because it wasn’t an item the board discussed, that was (Brown) on his own.”
Brown after the meeting said he was requesting the resolution be put on the board’s next regular meeting agenda.
“If the board doesn’t want to take it up, that’s the board’s prerogative,” he said.