The second part of the meeting consisted of Superintendent Pete Lewis speaking along with the school Lawyer, Rockie Ulrich Hansen. After the last parent spoke, Superintendent Pete Lewis took the podium.
Superintendent Lewis: Good Evening, I am Pete Lewis, Superintendent of Colville School District.
President Green and members of the Board, Policy 3211 Transgender Students is before you for second reading. This policy provides additional clarity to our non-discrimination policy and I would like to point out to the Board that after posting the draft procedure on the website, we have heard from several families expressing concerns to the privacy interests of their students who may be impacted by allowing other students to utilize facilities that correspond with their gender identity. In light of these concerns, I have amended the procedure to recognize that any student who has a desire for increased privacy may be allowed to access an alternative restroom or changing area. In most cases we already have private areas within each facility that will allow a student more privacy. As the procedure says, this is done on a case by case basis.
I also want to point out that the Board approves policy, procedure is something that comes from the administration, and is something that can be changed and can be adjusted to meet the needs and to be able to comply with the law.
This is a Washington State School Directors generated Policy. It is in compliance with the Revised Code of Washington, specifically RCW 28A.642.010 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.642.010) and with the Washington Administrative Code WAC 392.190, Unlawful Discrimination (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=392-190). This policy is also in compliance with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Guidelines and is consistent with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules.
It has also put us as a community and as a Board in a dilemma. A dilemma about how we go about crafting an appropriate policy and procedure that can meet the needs of our students and follow the laws of the state of Washington, which I am obligated to do, just as you are obligated to do.
It is important because of our discrimination policy and something that will be recognized by the state of Washington as something that we have to follow. We have protected classes. Gender identity is a protected class, like it or not. We have an obligation to make sure that all of our students and all of our classes are protected. We want to make sure that we craft a policy and procedure that allows us to do that, but does not stigmatize, it does not bring attention to, allows kids to be comfortable, allows kids to be safe.
It is not an easy place to sit there. It is not an easy place to be here.
1. Audience Member: Protect my daughter! Continue reading