In the heart of Amish country, a rural school district is looking to make a major change in the way it accommodates transgender students.
Earlier this year, Eastern Lancaster School District allowed a transgender boy to use the male locker room. After public outcry, the district started developing a defined policy.
On Thursday, the school board went over plans for new private locker rooms at Garden Spot High School which would allow for private changing areas, including 25 individual showers.
One woman who attended the meeting said she struggled with the idea of showering in front of her peers as a student.
“I was just uncomfortable with my body to the extent that I wouldn’t shower. So, when I look at this, I think this is wonderful for not just transgender students, but all students,” said Dawn Ranck-Hower, pastor at New Holland Mennonite Church.
Others were frustrated that the project, estimated to cost $1 million, revolves around one person, especially when past transgender students used faculty facilities.
“Why can’t that child be made to follow what has been done in the past: faculty facilities?” said Diane Eberly, a school district taxpayer.
“This country has turned upside down and inside out — one percent of the population — everyone else should not suffer,” said a district parent who declined to give his name.
Superintendent Robert Hollister said it may have started with one student, but it has evolved into something much bigger.
“It’s about creating an environment that’s socially, emotionally and physically safe for all kids. So, it’s really no longer about one student. In fact, it’s probably a conversation we probably should have had some time ago,” he said.