West Lafayette school board expected to table policy banning trans girls from playing in sports at next meeting
The West Lafayette Community School Corporation board is expected to table a policy banning transgender girls from playing on all-women’s sports teams at its next board meeting.
The board faced blowback after the policy’s first reading, which Superintendent Shawn Greiner said was simply intended to bring the school district in line with the new state law also aimed at those athletes.
Greiner said there is no reason to pass the policy at this time, especially as the state law faces a legal challenge.
“We have some of our students and families questioning, ‘is it necessary to put the policy in place while it’s working through the courts?’” he said. “The answer is no.”
Greiner said he’s sympathetic to concerns that enacting the policy while the law is still moving through the legal process might send a message to some students that they are unwelcome. But he said putting the state law on the books is a resource for teachers and staff to make sure they are following its guidelines.
“It’s just one more safety check or one more resource that allows you to have the information that you need to be sure that you’re doing that,” Greiner said.
If legal challenges against the state law fail, Greiner said he couldn’t guarantee one way or the other whether a policy would be passed. But, he said, the school corporation will follow the law regardless.
And, according to Greiner, there are no students currently enrolled at the school who are impacted by the policy.
Katie Blair is the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the ACLU of Indiana, which sued Indianapolis Public Schools on behalf of a trans girl who would no longer have been able to play on her school’s softball team under the state law. She said there is no reason for schools to pass policies duplicating what state law already enforces.
“Enshrining it would only send a message to trans students that they aren’t welcome in their school,” she said. “We already know that trans students face a higher level of suicidal ideation, they already face higher levels of bullying and have a harder family life oftentimes. This is just another thing that shows them they are other.”
Blair said schools send a clear message to students when they pass policies like the state’s ban on trans girls participating in sports.
“It makes it harder for kids to live their authentic lives knowing they don’t have the support of the people they should be able to lean on the most, which is their school officials,” she said.
West Lafayette School Community School Corporation’s next board meeting is on Monday.