Chariho schools to adopt policy for transgender students

By: Chloe Leshner

cleshner@abc6.com

@ChloeLeshner

CHARIHO, R.I. (WLNE) — The Chariho School Committee will be looking at passing a policy that better accommodates transgender students. Every school in the state needs to pass some sort of policy by July 1.

There’s currently no policy in Chariho to help make accommodations for transgender students and the superintendent says there are about 12 people, and possibly more, that would be impacted.

Chariho Schools ready to adopt a policy that would create individual plans for transgender students looking to make changes in their school life.

“I think the policy is a little bit different than what most districts are using where it’s if you want this accommodation, you may have it. We just want to be very thoughtful and make sure everyone enters into the conversation with their eyes wide open,” says Barry Ricci, Superintendent of schools.

It means the principal, student, their family and a mental health professional will come together to make a plan.

“It will be a team of people who have an interest in the student and the student’s well-being making decisions with the student,” says Ricci.

The policy doesn’t specify the outcome. If a student wanted to change their name or use a different bathroom or locker room, it will go case by case.

 “I think it’s unlikely that we would say no but what I think should happen is that the student consider all of the ramifications and that’s why we’re doing the team approach so it won’t be like one size fits all,” says Ricci.

Every school in the state is required to have a policy by July.

The Superintendent says there hasn’t been much backlash and parents we spoke with at school pick up were largely okay with it, as long as it didn’t interfere with their child’s education.

The school committee already passed the policy on first reading in a 7 to 4 vote.

“One member was concerned that it could put additional stress on the student because of the meeting, another member felt that it was government overreach, and another member was concerned about the bathroom issue,” says Ricci.

The school committee meeting that was planned for Tuesday was canceled but they are working to schedule it for this Thursday.

© WLNE/ABC 6 2018