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Atherton High Considers Discrimination Policy Change to Address Student Gender Identity Questions

Atherton High School administrators are looking to revise the school’s discrimination policy after complaints arose from a male-bodied transgender student's use of the girls' restroom.The student, who identifies as a female, was allowed to use both of the school’s girls-only restrooms, but, following complaints, school officials limited her to only one of the restrooms.In a letter sent home to parents of Atherton students, officials at the school announced their plan to add a non-discrimination statement to school policy focusing on gender identity. Chris Hartman, the director of the Louisville Fairness Campaign, said allowing a transgender student access to gender-*specific restrooms is important not only for basic civil rights, but also for safety.“A great deal of violence and sexual assault against transgender people, in general, and transgender youth occurs in restrooms,” he said.  “When we are talking about restroom accommodations being important it is about safety of all students and in particular the trans students.”He said half of transgender people are victims of either sexual of physical violence.Hartman said allowing someone who identifies as female to use the female facilities is “the sensible thing to do.”“Which is what their gut reaction was and what they initially did and sounds like what they are moving towards,” he said.On Monday, Clint Elliott, a Louisville attorney, addressed the Jefferson County Board of Education on behalf of the faith-based legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom and “several concerned parents. elliott said the male-bodied student should not be allowed to use a girl’s restroom."Are parents supposed to be OK with allowing such boys to use the girls' restroom and locker room facilities?" he said during Tuesday's meeting."It is certainly a violation of a student's rights to privacy. What about those girls and their rights to privacy and safety.”Atherton administrators are encouraging parents to attend a School-Based Decision Making Council meeting at the school on Thursday to discuss adding the following statement to the school’s policy:"Atherton High School shall not discriminate in the use of school space on the basis of age, color, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, race, sex, sexual orientation nor gender identity."

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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