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Home Articles LGBTQ News Roxbury High School students protest repeal of transgender student protection policy

Roxbury High School students protest repeal of transgender student protection policy

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Roxbury Township sign with the High School mascot logo on the right side. 2024
Roxbury Township
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Almost 50 students from the Roxbury Township High School walked out in protest to support protections for transgender students. They continued to press the issue at the board of education meeting that evening on April 8, 2024. But their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. The board voted 6-4 to rescind policy 5756, a state-driven transgender student protection measure.

The student walkout highlighted the significant impact the policy had on their lives. Despite their efforts, political symbolism overshadowed student sentiment. The recent school board elections saw a conservative-leaning slate gain more power. This made the repeal of policy 5756 almost inevitable.

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In the run-up to the fall legislative elections, Republicans campaigned against “woke” education standards, although this strategy did not yield significant statewide political results. However, in some local school board races, the outcomes were mixed, leading to policy changes like the one in Roxbury.

Policy 5756 mandated respect for transgender students and stated that teachers and staff were not required to inform parents about a student’s gender identity or expression. Supporters argued that the policy-protected students and shielded the district from potential legal issues. Board Member Carol Scheneck, a lawyer who voted against the repeal, emphasized the district’s liability without such a policy.

Despite these arguments, the board proceeded with the repeal, driven by broader political motivations. Opponents of the policy framed the debate with rhetoric about a “neo-Marxist” agenda and the impact of legalizing gay marriage on societal views of sexuality. Republican Assemblywoman Dawn Fantasia argued that keeping information about children’s identities from their parents was wrong.

In stark contrast, students who advocated for maintaining the policy voiced concerns that its repeal would harm some children. One student remarked, “This policy has made trans kids everywhere feel safer and more comfortable in school.” Another emphasized the need for a safe environment for friends still struggling with gender identity.

Although the vote ends the matter in Roxbury for now, there is potential for future changes. Some districts that repealed similar policies have reinstated them, and there is always the possibility of litigation. The vote in Roxbury was seen as more symbolic than practical, aligning with a broader stance against a perceived “liberal, woke agenda.”

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