High school discusses adding gender identity to non-discrimination policy

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A high school is the middle of a major debate involving gender identity and discrimination.

Being transgender means a person who is born as one sex but identifies as the opposite sex.

The principal at Atherton High School wants to make sure all students are treated fairly. He said the issue has lead to many questions.

"How do you treat people humanely? What's the proper way we want to treat people? How do we want to teach our children how people who are different are to be treated?" Questioned Dr. Thomas Aberli.

Principal Dr. Thomas Aberli said it's simple, all children should be treated equally. Dr. Aberli wants to add gender identity to Atherton's non-discrimination policy.

This after a freshman student who was born male but identifies as a female received permission to use the girls restrooms and locker room.

It prompted complaints from some parents like Michelle Kelty.

"My opinion is that boy parts should go into the boys restroom and girl parts should stay in the girls restroom," said Kelty. "It's just really that simple."

The issue is not that black and white according to Elizabeth Stith, thr executive director of the Louisville Youth Group, a social support group for LGBT teens.

"I think that people who see this as this is a boy going in the girls restroom are not really thinking about the kinds of issues that this young woman already had to deal with," said Stith. "I hope they will take a step back and try to understand that there is a lot more to this than waking up one day and deciding I'm a girl not a boy."

In an effort to respect the rights of everyone and the parents and students who had concerns, Dr. Aberli allowed the transgender student to use the women's restroom, but only one of the two in the building.

A letter went out to parents stating that currently, transgender students at Atherton High School may use the restroom and locker room of their identity with prior approval and parameters set by the school administration.

[VIEW: Letter addressed to Atherton Families]

Right now there are no state laws providing fairness guidelines for transgender students. Recently, The Department of Education declared transgender students are protected under Title IX.  Atherton's procedure follows that law.

[VIEW: Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence]

A meeting about updating the policy concerning transgendered students will be held Thursday, May 15 at 2:45 p.m. in Atherton's large auditorium. The meeting is open to the public.

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