If you are a regular viewer of the 5:00 and 6:00 news, you may be aware of the transgender-related bills that have been considered by the legislature this session. Around a dozen of these bills, including one that prohibits K-12 students from using bathrooms different from their birth sex, have been signed into law. However, the Fargo School District has stated that they will not be enforcing this law.
Fargo’s superintendent, Dr. Rupak Gandhi, has said that they will not participate in any law that could subject students to further discrimination or increase their self-harm. He cited research that suggests that only a third of LGBTQ youth are accepted by their parents, another third are outright rejected, and the final third do not disclose their LGBTQ status until they are adults. Therefore, the superintendent believes that conflicts with federal law and they will double down to advocate for the youth.
HB 1522 prohibits schools from requiring people to use a student’s preferred gender pronoun and prohibits students from using bathrooms that do not align with their sex at birth. However, lawmakers who supported this bill believe that sometimes trans kids need to be told ‘no.’ They argue that pretending anyone can be a biological female is scientifically impossible, no matter how many hormone blockers they take.
Governor Doug Burgum, who signed the bill into law this week, believes that the 2023 Legislature’s emphasis on social issues took away from their accomplishments. Mandan, Williston, and Dickinson public school districts all say they intend to follow the law, but Bismarck Public Schools and Minot Public Schools are awaiting guidance from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction as to what actions will need to happen under this new law.
While breaking this law may not result in any penalties, the Fargo School Board believes that they will do what is right for the kids. It is a sensitive issue that requires careful consideration and compassion for all students.