Sarasota County School Board refuses to vote on a trans-inclusive bathroom policy

By : Jeremy Williams
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SARASOTA – Students and allies of the trans community spoke out yet again for a trans-inclusive bathroom policy for Sarasota County schools at a school board meeting Aug. 2, and again the Sarasota County School Board refused to vote on a policy.

Since January, when Pine View Charter School created a policy that gave transgender students the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, members from both sides of the argument have been asking for the school board to make a decision on the policy.

“There are students in limbo since January,” said one speaker at the podium, speaking to the school board.”It’s August. Students are going to have to go back to school really soon and they don’t know what kind of treatment they’re going to receive. They don’t know how to prepare for school.”

The five school board members who were present – board member Frank Kovach was absent from the meeting – heard from more than a dozen speakers before turning to Arthur Hardy, lawyer for the Sarasota County school district, for council.

“A number of lawsuits are pending across the country,” Hardy advised the board, speaking about transgender bathroom cases brought before courts across the country.

“So we will be sued either way,” school board chair Shirley Brown said.

The cases Hardy spoke about were brought by both supporters and opponents of trans-inclusive bathroom directives.

“It isn’t that we are not listening,” Brown said. The board did not take a vote on a county wide trans bathroom policy, leaving the policies up to the individual schools until decisions are made in the various lawsuits.

Schools in Sarasota County start Aug. 22.

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