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Blair Oaks board to review transgender student policy

August 8, 2022 at 1:28 p.m. | Updated August 10, 2022 at 11:28 a.m.
Blair Oaks school officials are shown interacting with community members about Board Policy 2115 on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Blair Oaks Intermediate School. (Kate Cassady/News Tribune photo)

The Blair Oaks School Board will meet Tuesday night to hear from the public during a tax rate hearing and to discuss Board Policy 2115, a policy about transgender students.

The board will hold its open tax rate hearing at 6:45 p.m., and at 7 p.m., the regular meeting will begin.

Board Policy 2115 is under “old business” for Tuesday’s meeting.

Policy 2115 allows transgender students to choose a name and pronoun by which to be identified and to dress according to their gender identity. It also allows all students to use restrooms that are gender-neutral, aligned with their “biological sex” or aligned with their “self-identified gender.” It also outlines Missouri State High School Activities Association rules for transgender athletes.

Policy 2115 has been in the spotlight over the past few months after community inquiries led to an “extended public comment” meeting for the board to hear public feedback on the policy. The meeting produced impassioned statements from those who wanted the board to change or revoke the policy and those who wanted them to keep it as is.

The policy was originally adopted in November 2020. It is a policy taken from template language by Missouri Consultants for Education, and a few area schools have a similar policy.

The debate is also playing out on a state and national stage as Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has joined several other states in obtaining an injunction against federal guidance that would include “gender identity” in the sex discrimination prohibitions in Title VII and Title IX. Several attorneys general have said this guidance conflicts with the enforcement of their state law regarding sex-separated bathrooms. The court granted a preliminary injunction restraining the implementation of that guidance. Schmitt is also involved in another similar lawsuit that is ongoing.

Other items being discussed at the Blair Oaks board meeting Tuesday are capital improvement projects, an updated student drug testing policy, and an additional school resource officer. The meeting will take place in the intermediate school library.

CORRECTION: This article was edited at 11:28 a.m. Aug. 10, 2022, to indicate Board Policy 2115 was listed under "old business" at Tuesday's meeting.


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