MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday, the Manchester Board of School Committee (BOSC) Policy Committee voted 4-1 to recommend a policy amendment that would extend protections to transgendered students.
Following the passage of a state law in 2019, the Manchester School District proposed the amendment based on a sample policy recommended by the New Hampshire School Board Association. As of December 2020, only 48 of the state’s 196 active public-school districts and charter schools had adopted a comparable policy.
The policy (see below) outlines prescribed district policy for transgender students regarding bathrooms, locker rooms, pronouns and gender-segregated activities among other topics.
The dissenting vote came from Arthur Beaudry (Ward 9), who advocated to allow transgender students to have their own bathrooms. He also expressed concern over male-to-female transgender students trying out for positions on female sports teams.
“I can’t see females cut from a team because a male is taking their position,” he said.
In response, Manchester School District Attorney Katherine Pelletier Cox said that the state law prohibits the district from discrimination based on gender identity and this amendment would require the district to treat the student based on their true gender identity.
James O’Connell (At-Large) believed that the proposal was a step in the right direction and society as a whole needs to have a non-binary view of gender.
Dr. Nicole Leapley (Ward 11) believed the police was well-written and clear and felt that it was important to speak out on behalf of transgender students as they are often the target of discrimination and abuse.
Peter Perich (Ward 8) was surprised that this policy was not in force already, as he told the committee that transgender students received accommodation whenever possible during his time as an assistant principal at Manchester Memorial High School.
Leslie Want (Ward 4) also voted in favor of the proposal.
The policy amendment will now go to a second hearing before heading to the full BOSC for approval.