MetroEast school board votes to let transgender students use preferred names, but restricts bathroom access

O’FALLON — In a mixed result, the school board for District 90 in O’Fallon voted to let transgender students use their preferred names, but will still require them to use a gender neutral bathroom in a nurse’s office or the bathroom of their gender assigned at birth.

KSDK-TV in St. Louis reported that the board did vote to allow students to wear their preferred names on their student IDs and non-legal documents. Before, students could only use their given names. Also, students can play in sports of their gender identity only if the governing association gives permission. However, the bathroom rule remains the same.

“It’s a little bit of validation and acceptance. I get that from the outside, it looks trivial, but for someone who’s impacted by this, it’s a massive validation. We see you, we’re with you,” CJ Casconi, a transgender former student of the district, told KSDK.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that school board members Jason Boone, Matt Lloyd, Becky Drury, Rebecca Huller and Mary Baskett all voted in favor of the revision on Tuesday. Steve Springer and board president John Wagnon voted against it. They said during the meeting that they preferred a different version, which still would have allowed students to change their names on IDs and play on teams that match their preferred gender.

Springer has been under fire before because of actions and emails during his time on the board. He’d claimed some books were “social indoctrination” and emails about a transgender student wanting bathroom access earlier this year.

Statewide organizations Equality Illinois and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance had been pushing for the changes, but said they would have liked the policy to go further, according to the newspaper.

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