Ind. high school requires permission slip for trans students to change names, use facilities

MUNCIE — The Ball State Daily News, the student newspaper for Ball State University in Indiana, reported late last month that a local high school required transgender students to have permission slips signed by parents to use the correct restrooms or change their name.

Administrators at Burris Laboratory School, a high school administered by Ball State, sent the forms home with two transgender students after repeatedly asking them about their bathroom usage.

from the Daily News:

When The Daily News reached out to Burris administration, Kathy Wolf, Ball State vice president of marketing and communications, said via email the form is meant to coordinate communication between families and the school.

“The form is provided directly to students who have made specific requests related to preferred name, gender identity, or gender pronoun,” Wolf said.

Wolf said students who have questions or concerns can speak with a principal at any time and that the responsibility is upon the student to give the form to their parents to sign.

In 2017, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice rescinded a key provision that gave policy and guidance to schools on “sex-segregated facilities based on gender identity,” to reconsider the legal issues involved, according to a letter written by both departments.

Although this guidance was not written into law, schools who received federal funding were required to abide by it.

Like many schools across the country, Burris is trying to find a solution to serve its transgender student population. However, [Noah] Golliher said his parents believe he is being singled out.

“I’m not like everyone else, and it sucks being reminded of that,” Golliher said.

Golliher, who is male but was assigned female at birth, discovered Burris had an open bathroom policy when he came to the school. Soon after, he began using the boys bathroom discreetly.

Prior to this year, there was no distinct policy that required a signed note, nor was the policy written into the Burris Laboratory School Student Handbook for the 2018-19 school year. And while the students were trying to get used to the change, Golliher said some administration members were “a little less accepting.”

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