On Thursday, the Candia School Board voted by a slim margin (3 – 2) to repeal a district-wide policy that protects transgender students from harassment and discrimination.
The three board members backing the repeal, Chair Matt Woodrow, Dana Buckley and Stephanie Helmig, cited interest in finding a “compromise” that involves renovating the entire school with single-stall bathrooms.
This is a false remedy. Ultimately, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination policies are about ensuring ALL students—regardless of their gender identity—can learn, thrive, and fully participate at school. Stripping these protections from transgender students leave them separate and unequal. What’s more, holding out for a hypothetical “compromise” denies transgender children the safe and welcoming environment all schools should seek to provide for their students, and puts them at risk of discrimination every day.
Opponents of the repeal, board vice chair Becky Cronk and Kim Royer, noted that testimony to the board made at last week’s public hearing—both from residents and non-residents—regarding the policy showed a majority in support of ensuring transgender students are fairly and equally protected from discrimination.
Board members’ Woodrow, Buckley, and Helmig’s vote to repeal these protections flies in the face of community members, administrators, and teachers who by and large support this policy. And it throws transgender students under the bus.
With Candia’s repeal, that leaves 16 school districts with policies protecting transgender students from discrimination: Gilford, Dover, Epping, Greenland, Hooksett, Monroe, Northwood, Oyster River, Portsmouth, Sanborn, Concord, Londonderry, Merrimack Valley, Somersworth, Rochester and Dresden.
Opponents of transgender freedom could be coming for those policies next, in an effort to systematically chip away at the few protections afforded transgender people in the state of New Hampshire—and stall support for statewide protections under #TransBillNH.
Regardless of how the Candia School Board ultimately voted, the fact remains: A majority of Candia residents supported the transgender-inclusive school policies—and a majority of Granite Staters support #TransBillNH. Now is no time to back down. We’ve got to ramp up to show the opposition we are stronger, bigger, and more outspoken—and we aren’t going anywhere.