Federal policy a 'non-issue' locally

Cary Ashby • May 20, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Local school superintendents presently don’t see a need for transgender-oriented restrooms and haven’t heard any feedback from district parents.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice sent a joint letter to educators across the country directing districts to avoid discrimination against transgender students, specifically regarding which bathrooms they use.

“Our attorneys have been working on a policy for us,” Edison Local Schools Superintendent Tom Roth said.

He interprets the letter from federal officials “as a mandate.”

“That’s the way I took it; I could be wrong,” Roth added.

Roth and Monroeville Local Schools Superintendent Ralph Moore said they haven’t heard any feedback from district parents about the transgender restroom issue.

“No. None,” Moore said. “It’s been a non-issue for us at this point.”

Rob Ludwig, school board president for Norwalk City Schools, takes a decisive stand on bathroom usage.

“I will say this: Girls should use the girls’ bathroom and boys should use the boys’ bathroom. It should be done by the gender you were born with. And I’m willing to stand behind that statement,” he said.

Ludwig was asked if he’s heard any feedback from district parents on the topic.

“Yes, I have,” he said. “They are echoing exactly what I said. They are concerned about it. They hope we stand on nature.”

So far, Moore and Roth said they don’t know of any district students who identify themselves as being transgender.

“At this moment at Edison, I don’t see that as a need,” Roth said about transgender bathrooms.

Ludwig also hasn’t heard about any Norwalk students who are transgender.

“I have not personally. That’s not to say they haven’t come to principals or the superintendent,” he added.

In Monroeville, Moore said he plans on keeping an eye on what state legislators will do about the topic and “see what they put in place.”

“It’s a national topic right now. We’re following it as a district as are other districts in Ohio,” he said.

“Certainly it’s not an issue for us,” Moore added, referring to the need for transgender restrooms. “We’re going to look to our policymakers and see where they take us.”

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