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Lakota board to have more discussions regarding transgender students

All school buildings in the district have single-user bathrooms available
Lakota School board meeting .jpg
Posted at 8:42 AM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 08:42:21-04

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — After a contentious Lakota school board meeting this week, members voted to discuss issues pertaining to transgender students in a May committee meeting.

The Monday full board meeting, which saw member Darbi Boddy admonished multiple times by Lakota Board of Education President Lynda O’Connor for speaking out of turn, also saw Boddy’s efforts to have the board vote Monday on a ban of transgender girls in sports fail without support by fellow members.

Boddy also claimed she has received a complaint of a transgender girl using a girls’ school bathroom but offered no further information regarding the alleged incident.

“Lakota allows boys in girls bathrooms as we speak, and it is damaging our children. This board has the authority and the duty to fix this now,” claimed Boddy in a comment released prior to the meeting.

O’Connor told Boddy if any complaints have been brought forward to her “I have confidence you will take those to (Lakota’s superintendent) so they can be addressed.”

Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for Lakota Schools, said all school buildings in the district have single-user bathrooms available for students as determined on an individual basis by building administrators.

“With regards to bathrooms, we want all of our students to feel safe and welcome when they walk through our doors. We do not allow boys to use the girls’ bathrooms and vice versa,” said Fuller.

“However, our administrators address individual requests by our transgender students and their families on a case-by-case basis. This may involve using the restroom in which they identify or a single user restroom, which we have available in all of our schools. In an effort to make all students feel comfortable, every student is extended this same opportunity.”

The Lakota school board’s policy committee is scheduled to meet on May 5.

Boddy also objected to Lakota renewing its long-standing contract with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) due to the state organization’s allowance of transgender athletes to compete if they meet certain conditions and case-by-case OHSAA approval.

The board voted, however, 4-1 to renew Lakota’s annual OHSAA membership.

The renewal was essential, said member Kelly Casper, in part because it allows athletes at both Lakota East and Lakota West high schools to apply for college athletic scholarships.

Interim Lakota Superintendent Robb Vogelmann told the board the OHSAA membership is key to assuring Lakota sports teams are competing only with other area schools who adhere to the same standards and student eligibility.

“The OHSAA sets the standards for teams to compete with one another. By being a part of OHSAA we are agreeing to minimum expectations as it deals with student eligibility and as it deals with coaches and as it deals with fair play,” said Vogelmann.

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