Beaver County school district passes 3 new policies pertaining to gender identity, sports

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — A Beaver County school district passed three new policies pertaining to gender identity and sports.

One of the new policies for the South Side Area School District discusses use of bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. It says students must use the ones that align with their sex, which the policy defines as “the biological distinction between male and female based on reproductive biology and genetic makeup.”

Another policy deals with sports. Students must join teams that match their sex or join a coed league. Some exceptions to that are that boys can try out for a girls’ team if there isn’t a boys’ team for that sport. If the boy would not displace any girl from the roster or if the boy doesn’t pose a risk of harm to opponents due to size and athletic ability. The school will also provide reasonable accommodations for male students who have not begun puberty.

A third policy touches on names and pronouns. During enrollment, parents must indicate their child’s sex for school records. If how they identify changes, the student and parent must contact the district in writing about the change and submit legal documents. The policy also states students or school staff do not have to use a student’s preferred name or pronoun but will need to avoid addressing the student by an unwanted first name and pronoun.

Superintendent Alan Fritz and school board members declined interviews.

The district hired Independence Law Center in 2022 to help with the new policies, which were first introduced in December. The Independence Law Center is a nonprofit conservative law firm out of Harrisburg that promotes religious freedom.

Senior Counsel at the Independence Law Center Senior Counsel Jeremy Samek shared this statement:

The district introduced its practices as written policies to ensure full transparency with the community and to communicate its commitment to welcoming, protecting, and caring for all students, families, and staff. The district policies promote an environment of mutual respect by providing consistent standards for recordkeeping and addressing students and providing a process for accommodations, recognizing parental authority to make health decisions for their children, and providing separation of multi-user privacy facilities and athletic teams based on sex. These policies provide reasonable accommodations to benefit all students while still protecting the purpose for which women’s sports and separate multi-user privacy facilities exist. The district encourages people to read the policies for themselves and that reporters provide a link to the policies for their readers.

Channel 11′s Alyssa Raymond chatted with several people in the community, and no one wanted to go on camera to speak publicly about this topic. She spoke with one woman who told her she doesn’t feel safe speaking up in this community in support of trans youth.

Links to all three policies:


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