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Republican Members Of New Hanover School Board Push Restrictions For Transgender Athletes

Source: Port City Daily

During a committee meeting, Republicans on the New Hanover County school board voted to remove language that would have granted middle school athletes the ability to participate in sports that aligns with their gender identity. 

In late January, Republican Josie Barnhart and Pat Bradford proposed stripping away the language from a policy that would allow students to “participate on a sports team consistent with their gender identity.”

Unsurprisingly, Republican Josie Barnhart and Pat Bradford, who ran on platforms during the midterm elections that included anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, are pushing forth changes that are targeted at LGBTQ+ students across New Hanover. 

According to Port City Daily, “The committee was charged with reviewing the policy after Bradford brought it up in a surprise move at the Jan. 10 board of education meeting. She claimed the previous board was in the wrong when it voted to waive the amendment’s first reading in June 2021, even though the waiving of first readings is allowed. 

Bradford led a vote to rescind the first reading, passed 4-3, then attempted to have the board vote on overturning the amendment that night; the attorney reminded her the action would be against open meetings law. The board decided to send it back to the policy committee”.

Stephanie Kraybill, the third committee member, has vocalized her disagreement with the action, with Port City Daily reporting that Kraybill characterized the move as a “backdoor attempt to take away the rights of transgender students.”

During the committee meeting, Kraybill argued putting the high-school requirements on middle schoolers could prevent them from playing sports altogether. 

Currently, transgender high-school students have to undergo a lengthy process under the state’s high-school athletic association policy. The process requires:

  • Gender identity request form
  • School form indicating a change in student information software, PowerSchool, if available
  • Updated school transcript, including attendance information
  • A written statement from the student affirming the consistent gender identity and expression of which the student relates
  • Statements from individuals such as, but not limited to parents, friends, and/or teachers, which affirm that the actions, attitudes, and manner demonstrate the student’s consistent gender identification
  • A complete list of all the student’s prescribed, non-prescribed or over-the-counter, treatments or medications relative to the gender identity of the student
  • Written verification from an appropriate healthcare professional
  • Any other pertinent documentation or information, which the student or parent(s) believes relevant and appropriate

“It’s a very invasive process that we go through with children, basically, that are 14 through 18,” stated Kraybill. 

The committee member added that “there was no reason to put the adolescents through the high school process because the current policy has not led to any problems,” according to Port City Daily. Since the proposed policy change, community members have criticized the majority Republican school board’s actions; creating a petition that has received an additional 58 signatures in the last few days, totaling 342 signatures collected.

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