On October 6, 2022, Alpha News reported that the new North Star Elementary School in White Bear Lake Area Schools opened in September with no separate restrooms for “boys” and “girls.” The news outlet reported that the new school opened with just “privacy bathrooms” that were intended to be gender neutral. Boys and girls in the elementary school “use the same stalls in a common bathroom along with a common area for hand-washing.” Alpha News explained: “The bathrooms consist of single toilets, floor-to-ceiling coverage, and doors with a latch that indicates whether or not the stall is occupied.”
Alpha News further reported that the principal did not indicate to the news outlet that “he is working on a solution” and added that “the gender-neutral bathroom design is being used throughout the district in new construction projects, additions, or remodeling.” Alpha News explained that the decision to not have restrooms for boys and girls in the elementary school likely originated from the district’s transgender policy. The school district used the findings from an “equity audit” performed in 2020 to create an “Equity Action Plan.” As part of the plan, the school district adopted the “Administrative Guidelines for Transgender and Gender-Expansive Student Rights and Protections” on July 11, 2022.
From the article: several moms said their daughters are having a hard time using the bathroom at school. They can’t find clean stalls because “there’s pee all over the toilet seat and it’s gross.”
The transgender policy explains that perceived “harassment” against people based on gender identity will be considered “sexual harassment.” The policy states that “students shall have access to the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity asserted at school.” The policy continues to explain: “In no case shall a transgender or gender-expansive student be required to use a restroom that conflicts with the student’s gender identity.” The school district will also allow students to “have access to the locker room that corresponds to the student’s gender identity asserted at school.” Students will also be allowed “to participate in all school trips in a manner that corresponds with their gender identity.”
The policy further explains that school staff and students must refer to other students by their preferred names and pronouns: “A student has the right to request that the student be referred to by a name and pronouns that correspond to the student’s gender identity by all school staff and fellow students.” The policy even gives guidance in how to deal with concerned parents: “When responding, the building principal should state that school officials may not share information about other students and that the school district follows the laws governing the rights of transgender students.”
The policy states that staff and teachers who refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns and name can be fired. The policy states:
District employees who refuse to abide by these Guidelines may be subject to disciplinary actions, up to and including termination, as set forth in the relevant employee discipline policy. This includes a staff member’s persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity; for example, by consistently referring to the student by a name or pronoun that does not correspond with the student’s gender identity.