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Board Statement on Policy 253

The District has been asked by several residents about Policy 253. The Board voted to implement this policy starting on the first student day of the 2019-2020 school year. This District policy states that multi-user locker rooms and restrooms will be separated based on biological sex. But the idea behind the policy is much deeper.  We’ve worked hard to arrive at a solution that balances varied interests – which is why we’re systematically converting multi-user facilities into a series of single-user facilities.

ELANCO prides itself in not simply providing reasonable accommodations to those who need them, but going above and beyond to provide extraordinary accommodations for all its students. At the start of the school year, there will be 13 single-user restrooms, which all students can use without special permission and for any reason. We think these spaces will be quite popular. But these 13 single-user spaces are only the start. As you may know, we’re working to approve plans to completely eliminate locker rooms. Those will be replaced with a series of single-user restrooms, showers, and changing rooms that can be accessed off of public areas, and thus can be used by persons of either sex. Teams will be able to meet in team classrooms nearby.  Because nobody will change in any classroom, including these team classrooms, both sexes can be present. This really helps, for instance, when we have a girls’ team coached by a male, or vice versa.  While this involves a significant investment, it is a worthwhile one that will serve students, coaches and the school well for many years to come. 

To be absolutely clear, we seek to accommodate any student in need of an accommodation because we believe accommodations can help all students to thrive. We have the utmost respect for every member of our school community, and providing reasonable accommodations that also take into account the interests of others is essential. We also want to preserve bodily privacy in spaces that exist to provide privacy from those with the opposite anatomy. Some might say it’s an impossible task to balance all those interests. But it is one we’re working to implement, and is why we have put the privacy-facility policy in writing. It’s simply and sincerely out of respect for every student and family in our district.

In the meantime, it is our hope that those who have been criticizing us on both sides of the issue will see that we’re proceeding with goodwill toward everyone in our community. We ask that you give us time to let this work and not assume the worst. Dr. Hollister and the administrative team have been working diligently over the summer to assure the maximum amount of single-user restrooms are available for the start of the school year. They have been meeting almost weekly with the architects, athletic department and the facilities manager to plan the extensive renovations to the locker areas.  

As you know, we have not arrived here lightly; not at all. We’ve been working hard for something that respects everyone’s interests, and we appreciate your understanding.