Decent citizens beat back the bullying and harassment some of our regressive legislators and lobbyists dished out to transgender students during the 2015 Session. But some legislators who helped beat back the bills seeking to repeal the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s year-old transgender policy have apparently been pushing the SDHSAA to review and rescind that policy.
The SDHSAA Board of Directors meeting agenda for this Tuesday and Wednesday includes a review of the transgender policy (listed as Item 8 on the main agenda but headed as Item 9 later in the packet). SDHSAA posts this information in the agenda:
SUMMARY STATEMENT: SDHSAA Board of Directors members Rick Weber, Dr. Jason Uttermark, and Steve Morford, along with Senators Soholt of Sioux Falls and Solano of Rapid City, met with ASBSD Executive Director, Dr. Wade Pogany, Mr. Rob Monson, Executive Director or the SASD, SDHSAA Legal Counsel, Ms. Lindsey Riter-Rapp, and Mr. Gerry Kaufman, Legal Counsel for ASBSD.
The message that was sent to those in attendance by Senators Soholt and Solano was to review, and possibly rescind, the current transgender policy that was adopted by the Board of Directors on June 11, 2014. Dr. Pogany and Mr. Monson were to meet with their respective groups, ASBSD and SASD, and report back with their findings.
Dr. Pogany has set a work session for Friday, May 15, 2015, in his office at 9:00 a.m.
STAFF RECOMMENDATION: As the member schools were supportive throughout the legislative session through their respective lobbyists, I feel it would be premature to take any action, other than discussion/review of the current policy, at this time. It may be in the best interests of the Association to give the SASD/SDSSA the opportunity to survey their membership and legal counsel as to determine whether it would be preferable for each individual school district to have its own policy at the local level, or whether the SDHSAA should have one policy that would govern all school districts to determine the eligibility of transgender students in SDHSAA activities? [SDHSAA, Board of Directors April 21–22 2015 meeting agenda, Item #9, p. 58, downloaded 2015.04.19]
Senators Deb Soholt (R-14/Sioux Falls) and Alan Solano (R-32/Rapid City) voted to kill two of the anti-transgender bills, HB 1161 and HB 1195, in the Senate Education Committee during the first week of March. But apparently since then, Senators Soholt and Solano have told the SDHSAA to consider undoing that policy themselves. These two senators may have resisted having the shame of discriminating against transgender kids on their voting records, but they appear not to mind encouraging the SDHSAA to do that dirty deed for them.
I am relieved to see that SDHSAA is not leaping to act in that direction, noting that its membership supports this inclusive policy. I will be curious to see what further surveys of the school districts say about the merits of the transgender participation policy, not to mention what paranoia groups like Concerned Women for America may try to stir up in the school districts to sway any such surveys.