School systems respond to transgender bathroom issue
Published 12:54 pm Monday, May 16, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
Public school leaders in Shelby County said they are still working to determine exactly how a guidance from President Barack Obama will affect their school systems, but said they will continue to work with individual students to provide a “safe, supportive and respectful” educational environment.
On May 13, the president issued a guidance to all public schools in the United States, instructing them to allow students to use facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms and showers corresponding with their gender identity.
The guidance also instructs schools to allow students to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities based on their gender identity.
After the president issued the instructions, local public school systems said they were working to determine how it will affect their schools.
“This issue is still very new. We will continue to review this order and monitor its development,” Shelby County School System Superintendent Randy Fuller wrote in a statement.
The Hoover City School System issued a similar statement.
“The announcement is still very new and we are still working to determine what this means for Hoover City Schools,” HCS spokesperson Jason Gaston wrote.
Leaders in the Alabaster and Pelham school systems said they will continue to follow their respective mission statements.
“Alabaster City Schools’ goal is the same today as it has always been: To provide a safe, supportive and respectful environment for all students so they are able to learn to their full potential,” ACS Student Services Coordinator Dorann Tanner wrote in a statement.
Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield issued a similar statement.
“Our plans remain the same: We will always work with individual students and parents to provide a safe, supportive and respectful environment for individual students and for all students as a collective group,” Coefield wrote. “We feel that mutual respect, communications and working together to find solutions to any issues can be achieved by building relationships with our students, parents, community and local school leaders.”
As of May 16, requests for comment from multiple local private schools had not been returned.
Staff writers Molly Davidson, Jessa Pease and Emily Sparacino contributed to this story.