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Decatur School Board releases statement backing superintendent on transgender students

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Decatur School Board releases statement backing superintendent on transgender students

Vernadette Broyles, a lawyer from Georgia Adoption and Family Law Practice out of Norcross, speaks to the City Schools of Decatur Board regarding their policies on transgender students. Photo by Gabriel Owens
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Vernadette Broyles, a lawyer from Georgia Adoption and Family Law Practice out of Norcross, speaks to the City Schools of Decatur Board regarding their policies on transgender students. Photo by Gabriel Owens

The Decatur School Board issued a statement on Monday saying it is behind Superintendent David Dude’s interpretation of school policy on transgender students.

“The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education is committed to ensuring that all students feel safe, supported, and valued. We support the Superintendent’s efforts to interpret Board policy regarding equal educational opportunities for all students,” the school board said.

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The school system has had a policy protecting transgender students for at least 10 years. In a letter to City Schools of Decatur staff sent in July 2016, Superintendent Dude told staff that he expects students to be addressed using their preferred gender identity and that students should be allowed access to facilities – like restrooms – and activities based on their preferred gender identity.

During the Sept. 14 Decatur School Board meeting three people calling themselves a parents’ coalition spoke out against the school system’s policies regarding transgender students. Dude did not issue a statement about the comments after the meeting, but on Friday updated his profile picture to include a rainbow flag, a sign of support for the LGBT community.

The board said it would be discussing the policy at its October board meeting.

“The Board has not yet had an opportunity to specifically discuss the topic of transgender students, and we look forward to having that discussion at our October board meeting,” the School Board said. “We recognize that this is a sensitive and complex issue and we welcome diverse viewpoints and a respectful community conversation as we deliberate on this policy and our directions to the Superintendent.”

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