Keene School Board approves policy for transgender studentsBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
February 16. 2017 12:29AM
KEENE — The Keene School Board unanimously approved a policy Tuesday night intended to protect transgender and gender nonconforming students.
The school board had worked on the policy for six months before voting to adopt it as school policy Tuesday night.
It’s a national issue that has been around for years, Keene Board Chairman Edward Murdough said Wednesday.
“This is a situation that has been out there for a while. It came up as a concern for something that needed to be addressed,” he said.
While Keene schools have some transgender students, Murdough said he is unaware of any issues arising from how school district staff has handled issues presented by those situations in the past.
This was a matter of researching the issue and creating a policy to guide staff.
“Any policy we write is really there to provide guidance to our staff for situations they may encounter,” Murdough said.
The School Board used the policy by the N.H. School Boards Association as a model.
The policy approved by Keene Tuesday night allows, on a case-by-case basis, transgender students access to the restroom that corresponds to the students’ gender identity.
Additionally, “A transgender student shall not be required to use a locker room that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.”
So students are allowed to use the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity.
The policy also allows transgender students to compete on sports teams consistent with the student’s gender identity.
Murdough said the board researched and worked on the policy for six months and only received feedback regarding it in the few days leading up to Tuesday night’s meeting.
“One hundred percent of the feedback was positive,” he said, including feedback at Tuesday’s meeting.
Murdough said he only received one concern about the policy the day after it was adopted, by a man who was concerned about the privacy of other students in locker rooms.
Murdough said school board members did consider all students when working on the policy.
According to the policy any student for any reason can request a private dressing area, Murdough said.
“You don’t look out for the interests of one group of students at the expense of another,” Murdough said.