OPS, NSAA include transgender students despite Trump Administration

Dominick Bartels, News Writer

President Donald Trump has been publicly against transgender rights since his 2016 election. Recently, he proposed an order that would mandate and define gender as only male and female. The proposal would ban a legal change in gender after birth.

In a statement to the press the president claimed he is merely “protecting everybody” by putting in these regulations.

“It’s too late for many people. They’re already transitioning [to their preferred gender],” Blake Heuertz, 12, a transgender student said.

This proposal comes after the Trump Administration rolled back protections on transgender men and women in the military. These protections were originally put in place by the Obama Administration.

Despite the national climate around transgender people, the Omaha Public Schools’ (OPS) Board of Education voted unanimously to add “gender identity and expression” to their antidiscrimination policy on September 7, 2016.

The previous policy included, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability and age, but never specifically addressed gender identity.

“Just because they identify as something different, [it] doesn’t change them as a person,” Heuertz said.

Since then, OPS has granted various rights to transgender students such as, allowing students to “use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity,” and demands all students and employees to “respect [preferred] names and pronouns” of transgender students.

Heuertz explains that he uses restrooms in the nurse’s office and the drama department since they “do not have a specific gender.”

However, Ian Perry, 12, believes students should and must use the bathroom of their “biologically determined sex in order to stop confusion and conflict.” Of 100 North students, 74 percent said they would be okay if transgender students used the bathrooms that they feel comfortable in while only 15 percent were against it. The other 11 percent had no opinion.

While OPS determines policy regarding school bathroom use, the Nebraska Schools Activities Association (NSAA) regulates locker room use at “sponsored events” stating that a student won’t be able to use their preferred restroom unless they have gone through “sexreassignment” surgery. However, students can opt to have a private “toilet, locker, and shower room facility [if available].”

NSAA policy states that only “bona fide transgender students” are addressed in their policy and of allows transgender athletes to participate with the group or team that corresponds with their gender identity.

According to Johnson, athletes must file an application with the NSAA in order to play for their preferred gender team.

A student’s application must include current school records, a written statement from the parents/guardians of the student and the student, statements from friends or family affirming that the student is transgender, verification from a medical professional of the student’s identity, documentation of a medical sex change (hormone therapy, sexreassignment surgery), and documentation of psychiatric care.

The application will be reviewed by a NSAA Committee comprised of a physician with experience in transgender health, a licensed mental health professional, a school administrator from another school, and a NSAA employee. The committee will analyze the application and grant the student permission to participate if they believe the application to be “credible.”