Albany County Superintendent on Transgender Student Protections [VIDEO]
The superintendent of Albany County School District No. 1 says he doesn't believe an explicit policy protecting the civil rights of transgender students will be adopted any time soon.
Despite demands for the district to institute such a policy, Superintendent Dr. Jubal Yennie says he likes where the district is sitting.
"We have a couple policies that certainly protect our students," says Yennie. "We are focusing our practices on individuals."
"It's not unlike when we're dealing with students with individual education plans and special education," says Yennie. "There's certain needs that students have that are different than other students and we don't need to broadcast those and make those a big deal. We just need to honor kids as best we can."
But Laramie High School Senior Rihanna Kelver, who came out as transgender two years ago and now seeks a seat on the school board, says the district needs a policy now.
"There's a higher rate for suicide when transgender students don't have protections and such things as access to restrooms of their gender identity," says Kelver. "With those statistics out there and with such high rates of depression, anxiety, mental illness and suicide, policies like this are crucial to protecting the most vulnerable students of our district."
"Even though part of the argument is making sure the majority is comfortable, this group of students are at a very, very vulnerable point in their lifetime," says Kelver. "To be able to just say 'we're not going to do anything to help them' is, frankly, ridiculous to me."
Kelver was a member of the school board committee that produced two draft policies back in December. Neither policy was introduced for a first reading.