School board votes to delay implementation of privacy policy until next year

Lancaster

NEW HOLLAND, Pa. (WHTM) – A local school board has voted to delay implementation of a privacy policy until next school year. 

Eastern Lancaster County School board members voted to delay implementing the policy 6-3, saying the policy and addendum are too vague, and more information is needed.

The policy in the Eastern Lancaster County School District was set to take effect Tuesday. It calls for students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their biological sex until private, single-user restrooms are constructed as part of a larger renovation.

That renovation, in part, was planned to better accommodate student privacy.

Community members seem to support the policy, but members of the LGBTQ community and the American Civil Liberties Union have rallied against it, saying students should be able to use the facilities related to their gender identity. 

“We have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and an opportunity to chart a new course potentially for a lot of school districts,” superintendent Dr. Robert Hollister said.

The policy is seen as a bridge until the school renovates restroom and locker rooms into single-user stalls. The policy is a total reversal of a decision the board previously made to allow a transgender student who identifies as male to use the boys’ facility. 

“The stresses on the individuals making decisions are extremely high,” Hollister said. “It’s a difficult environment to make those decisions.”

Hollister believes the district could wind up in court if the board doesn’t make changes. 

“There are many risks,” he said. “Certainly, the risk of the district being sued is one of them, then that has a list of different threads or tentacles to it.”

Hollister said Monday that if the policy had been instated, it would have negatively affected gym classes and athletes since current facilities don’t satisfy what the policy would have required.

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