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U.S. Supreme Court move bolsters Pasco school district’s stance on transgender students

As a result, the district intends to stick with its procedures despite continued demands for change.
More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. Many demanded changes, which have not been forthcoming. Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times
More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. Many demanded changes, which have not been forthcoming. Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times
Published May 28, 2019
Updated May 28, 2019

With a two-sentence order Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court left intact a Pennsylvania school district’s procedure allowing transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.

The Court denied a request to hear the Boyertown Area School case, in which some students at the school said their rights might be violated because transgender students may see them change.

A similar situation has been playing itself out in Pasco County, although not in court, since fall 2018, when a trans boy used the boys’ locker room at Chasco Middle School. A teacher at the school raised concerns, which spread throughout west Pasco and prompted a group of conservative residents to protest the district’s processes relating to transgender youth.

Related: Religious rights group protests Pasco’s treatment of transgender students

A dedicated band of opponents to the district’s approach has attended every School Board meeting since, urging board members to rewrite its policies, among other related demands.

Board members declined to change their rules when they revised their policy manual in March. Dennis Alfonso, the board’s lawyer, stressed that federal laws, guidelines and court precedents were in line with the district’s stance. He added he was keeping a watchful eye on cases working through the courts in case anything changes.

This latest move by the U.S. Supreme Court led district officials to stick with their direction.

“It reaffirms the current processes are in line with the law of the land,” district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said. “Because of this ruling, which we have been waiting for, we will not be making any major changes.”

Related: Pasco schools psychologist comes under fire in transgender flap

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