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Hanover School Board votes down changes to bathroom policy to accommodate transgender students

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:31 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:56 PM EST
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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Hanover School leaders take a bold stance, defying requests for students to use the bathrooms that they identify with. But the district will make some minor changes to its policy in favor of transgender students.

When it comes to which bathroom a student should use, the school board was at odds. The majority won and it only took one vote for the district to decide to keep things the way they are.

“I’ve been bullied for identifying as who I am. I’ve been harassed verbally and physically not just in bathrooms but in hallways,” a student told the board.

“I plead to you please, do not make any rash decisions because you feel pressured to do so,” a parent added.

It was a packed house, with people lining up 2 hours before the meeting in order to secure a spot inside. They all wanted to sound off on a proposed policy that would have allowed a student to use the restroom connected with the gender they identify with.

The policy also would have stopped school staff from separating students based on their gender unless there was a legitimate educational purpose. Tuesday, the board decided in a 4 to 3 vote not to move forward with those changes.

“My daughter should feel just as comfortable in the bathroom as a transgender child,” parent Chad Porter said.

“I want to foster a culture where trans kids do feel like they belong,” Hanover resident Jacob Baker added.

People on both sides were so passionate, not everyone could get inside. Organizers set up loudspeakers outside of the school board building so that the crowd could still hear what the board decided. More than 60 signed up to speak during public comment but a strict one-hour time limit meant not everyone would get the opportunity to speak.

Hanover is allowing for changes involving student records. If a parent and student request that a teacher refers to a child by a different name or gender, then the school will do that. The same applies to official documents relating to that child.

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