Augusta, Maine School Board Shoots Down Proposal to Allow Transgender Bathroom Choice
The Augusta, Maine school board shot down a proposal that would have allowed transgender students to choose which bathrooms and locker rooms they use, among other things.
According to an article published by the Kennebec Journal, the proposal, which has been in draft form for more than a year, went through a contentious vote at the most recent board meeting. The proposal, which would have allowed transgendered students to choose the bathroom and/or locker room that they wanted, was voted down by a thin margin.
Additionally, the newspaper reported that under the proposal, staff would have needed to refer to each student by their 'chosen' name as well as prohibited staff and leaders at the school from discussing students' gender identity. The KJ reported that, had the measure passed, staff and transgender students would have been allowed to work together on custom education plans that best suited their specific needs.
The Augusta School Board, which met and voted on the measure Wednesday evening, were locked at 3-3 on the vote. The KJ says that after the tie, the Chair of The Board, Martha Witham, who only votes when there is a tie, cast her vote in opposition to the measures.
The Kennebec Journal explained that since the measure did not pass its initial vote, the measure cannot be brought back for a vote unless someone who originally voted NOT to pass it brings it back for another vote.
Kimberly Martin, a board member for Augusta Schools, told the Kennebec Journal in part,
“We had the (Gay, Straight, Transgender Student Alliance) advisor and students come to the meeting, and they made it known that it was a policy that was needed and that transgender students and the LGBTQ+ community did not always feel safe”.
The policy that was voted on, which is called the Transgender and Gender Expansive Students (ACAAA), has already been put in place in several other area schools. The KJ reported that Hallowell, Gardiner and Farmington schools have already voted to implement the new policy.
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