Ketchikan school board wants better student athlete transgender policy

The Ketchikan School Board discussed Wednesday about transgender policies for student athletes, and how such policies need to be uniform for state competitions.

Superintendent Robert Boyle gave an overview of the Alaska School Activities Association’s policy on transgender athletes:

“Whatever each school district has as their individual policies is allowable,” he said. “If a school district has no policy, then the policy is their birth certificate governs the sport that they should play in.”

Ketchikan’s policy on transgender students is inclusive, Boyle said, but other school districts are more restrictive. Because of that, he says, the ASAA policy is problematic.

“There are already multiple district policies, district approaches to this issue,” he said. “And that means that it very clearly will have districts in conflict with each other.”

Boyle asked the School Board for direction. He suggested that the district encourage ASAA to adjust its policy.

The board agreed with Boyle’s assessment of the problem.

“I think it’s a really weak move on behalf of ASAA,” board member Misty Archibald said. “I think it’s a sticky situation that they don’t really want to take a position on. Their job is to regulate activity so that there’s consistency statewide. It’s not going to work the way they’re doling this out. It’s not going to work across all the different communities in our state.”

The board directed Boyle to contact the Association of Alaska School Boards to discuss the issue.

Also Wednesday, the School Board voted to accept the resignation of Board President Michelle O’Brien, approved board goals for the coming school year and approved the purchase of $80,000 worth of Chromebook laptops for Schoenbar Middle School students.

The next Ketchikan School Board meeting is Aug. 24, which also is the first day of school for the fiscal year 2017 school year.

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