Transgender bathroom ruling has no impact on Springfield schools

Other districts are still reviewing the court decision.

A federal court’s decision to temporarily stall the president’s mandate allowing transgender students in public schools to use a bathroom of their choosing will have no impact on a local school district, according to its spokesperson.

Director of Communications and Collective Impact at Springfield City Schools Kim Fish said the district will continue to work individually with transgender students and their families to make sure each student’s needs are met. She said the school district has a no-discrimination policy and it works hard to make sure each student is safe at school.

“We serve a very diverse population of 8,000 students,” Fish said. “We try our best to accommodate our students.”

A ruling Monday by a federal judge barred federal agencies from punishing schools who fail to comply with the Obama administration’s policy regarding transgender people and their bathroom use in public schools. The policy would force schools to allow transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choosing.

Fish said Springfield has had instances of students not wanting to use the bathroom specified for the gender they were born as. She said the district developed an individual plan to help the students feel comfortable at school.

“There are a lot of individual bathrooms (in Springfield schools),” Fish said. “There are individual bathrooms in every school building. Bathrooms have just never been a problem.”

She said in each case the student, the student’s family and the school administration have felt the arraignments were fair.

When asked if a fifth-grade student would be allowed to use the opposite gender’s bathroom if he or she said he or she was transgender, Fish said the school would work with the student and did not wish to speculate on hypotheticals.

“We have had real situations and resolved the real situations,” Fish said.

Other school districts around Clark County are examining the ruling and are still deciding how to move forward.

Communication Coordinator Megan Anthony — the spokesperson for Clark Shawnee Local Schools, Greenon Local Schools, Northeastern Local Schools and Tecumseh Local Schools — said officials at those districts are reviewing the ruling and will continue to follow its developments.

Northwestern Local School Superintendent Jesse Steiner declined to comment on whether the school district changed any of its policies regarding students who identify as transgender.

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine’s office joined other states in a different lawsuit to stop the Obama administration’s policy from taking effect. Spokesperson Dan Tierney said the state took the action because the office feels those type of decisions should be made locally.

“For our state it has always been about to ensure that decision in Ohio is made locally,” Tierney said. “Ohio has a system where we elect local school boards to make policy decisions such as this.”

The recent court ruling is not final and the United States Supreme Court may ultimately decide whether the policy is federal overreach.

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