New transgender guidelines proves impactful at MHS

Brianna Carmack, Opinions Editor

During an era where ‘being who you are’ is highly encouraged, there are still many people who believe differently.

Last Wednesday, the USD 383 Board of Education presented a new transgender guidelines at Manhattan High, which caused several conversations before, during and after the meeting. Those conversations, such as athletic capabilities and bathrooms sparked some disagreement within the meeting, which was taken into account by the Board of Education. After a 6-1 vote in favor of the amended policy, the meeting concluded.

It is the agreement of The Mentor editorial board that people have the right to disagree, but that the amendment must be respected and followed to ensure that transgender students have a safe learning environment.

Although the guidelines were accessible to all of the voters, the lack of knowledge of the MHS community was evident throughout the meeting. Concerns, such as athletics and other students interactions were mentioned without thought as to what the guidline actually is, which is that there shall be no discrimination towards anyone who has identified themselves as transgender or non-binary.

Another concern was that it wouldn’t be safe for students to be sharing a bathroom with a transgender student who was previously the opposite gender. But, why would anyone peek over a stall or look to see someone else using the bathroom? That is a completely different issue that doesn’t even fit with the policy itself. If that is happening, there needs to be a different conversation about kids peeking over stalls, regardless of if it is a transgender student or someone else.

The question that came to mind generally was how can the guidelines be revised in the best way to make sure that both sides of students who are affected by it still have that same safe learning environment. In all honesty, there will always be a group of students, educators, parents, and other community members who feel that the guidelines aren’t safe at all. However, the best way to go about this issue is to ensure that the students are aware of the guidelines. It is also important that transgender students feel safe and comfortable at school despite peoples prejudices.

The board of education feels that the justification for this bill lies in the fourteenth amendment: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Everyone should feel safe. There shouldn’t be any discriminatory factors that make a student feel endangered. By opposing this, the action being represented is telling our forefathers who went out to create this amendment were wrong. No student should have to be forced to “feel safe” when there should be a guideline, such as this new one, that can help bring safety for them.

These new guidelines are a game changer for the MHS community. With the Board of Education acknowledging every type of student, it really helps nurture the environment at MHS to become a healthy, admirable and respectable one. Students will hopefully feel safe and protected at MHS with this new bill intact. It’s not every day you get a school that is willing to make certain changes for the better.