Columbus School District adopts guidelines relating to transgender students and sports

COLUMBUS (WITI) -- First, it was the Baraboo School District. Now, a second Madison-area school district is working to be more accepting of transgender students. A core value of the Columbus School District is to be accepting and welcoming to all, and now, new guidelines have been adopted relating to transgender students.

"We host teams and students from across the state," Columbus School District Superintendent Bryan Davis said.

Guidelines relating to members of the LGBT community weren't in writing until this past Monday, January 26th.

"The board had an initial reading on those guidelines and then this past Monday had their final reading, final discussion and then approved the policy,"

Davis says the diversity conversation is spreading across the state, so school officials wanted to make sure transgender students are accepted and free to play sports.

Davis says school officials aren't aware of any transgender students currently in the district, but he says this is a proactive measure.

"More than anything, being proactive so we don't have to have a student and a parent come forward and feel slighted in some way and feel awkward to have to bring this situation forward," Davis said.

School officials reviewed WIAA guidelines, a similar policy implemented by the Baraboo School District in December and consulted with legal counsel to put together the policy.

If there is a male-to-female, somebody that was born as a male, that either takes stops or identifies aas a female, they can play on a girl's team, and vice versa.

"So there's guidelines set up in the policy of how long that takes, because there's certain treatments and medical procedures in order for that transition to be effective," Davis said.

To make sure that someone transitioning wouldn't have a physical advantage, there are a few rules. For example, a female-to-male student who hasn't started hormone therapy is allowed to play on girl's teams, but can only play on boy's teams once they've started that hormone treatment.

Davis says the school district's core values came to light when the board put this issue to a vote.

"It was unanimous. We had five members there, so it was a 5-0 vote, and actually the discussion and comments afterwards were really, we feel the policy is a good reflection of core values about appreciating diversity," Davis said.

Because the policy hasn't been used yet, some things will be worked out on an individual basis.