With the debate over policy over for the moment, Leva said it’s now families and school leaders who have to make tough decisions.
On Thursday, the Minnesota State High School League, or MSHSL, officially adopted new policies that would require all public, private and even some religious high schools to accommodate transgender students, effective Aug. 1, 2015. The decision came in the face of fierce opposition that delayed the decision by months.
A bulletin from NFHS entitled, “Developing Policies for Transgender Students on High School Teams,” and dated Nov. 21, 2014, reads: “Transgender students are those whose gender they were assigned at birth does not match how they identify their gender. A student might have been identified as a boy at birth, but now identifies as a girl, or vice versa. Transgender students often report experiencing harassment and bullying from their classmates, as well as inaction from their teachers or coaches when they report being taunted or physically assaulted (GLSEN, 2011).”
The MSHSL did adopt an exemption for religiously affiliated high schools, but Leva said that provides far less protection for those schools than the league would have Minnesotans believe.
“The league actually narrowed the exemption, so now if a private Christian school is not directly affiliated with a particular denomination or a specific church, they are not protected under this policy,” she said. “So they will have to comply. That’s all of our independent Christian schools.”
Even the schools that make that cut, Leva said, could very easily feel the consequences of noncompliance.
“If a private religious school claims their exemption will they lose some standing in the league? Will they be forced to forfeit certain games? Will they be forced to allow visiting schools on their facilities to allow their students to use facilities of the opposite sex? None of those effects of the exemption were clarified in any way,” she said.