Progress in a small town

Candia, New Hampshire includes the villages of Candia, Candia Four Corners and East Candia. Total population is less than 4,000.

Thursday night, the School Board hosted a hearing to gather public input on its transgender policy. The hearing was forced by a warrant article approved 518-335 at this year's town meeting.

A year ago, the School Board adopted rules meant to offer protection against discrimination for transgender students, including allowing them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their preferred gender identity. The full policy can be found on the board’s website.

Many who spoke in favor of the policy said the rules showed support for transgender or “gender fluid students.”

Leave it alone and move on.

--Resident Chris DeWitt

I want you to understand for transgender people like me, bathrooms are where we face the worst moments of our lives sometimes.

Having the policy in place offers a message of support and protection for the students.

--Sofia Lemons, transgender woman

Some comment suggested minor tweaks to the policy, such as encouraging communication between faculty and staff and parents during a child's transition.

Though the majority of the roughly two dozen who spoke said they were in favor of the policy and its intent, a few asked for the School Board to repeal it, citing concerns about student safety. Others thought that the policy might be a form of segregation against transgender students.

Hundreds of residents signed a petition this past winter calling for repeal of the policy.

The petition was presented by Candia parent and new School Board member Dana Buckley,

Buckley said, the best solution would have been to have a single-stall bathroom.

I believe that the majority of the community would be behind that.

--Buckley

It is not clear if that "single stall bathroom" would be for the use of all students or if only the transgender/gender nonconforming students would be forced to use it. If the latter is what he favors, that is, by definition, segregation of gender variant people from the so-called "normals."

Debate on the issue and deliberation will be held on June 8 at Henry W. Moore School.

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