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East Aurora School Board Rescinds Transgender-Support Policy

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EAST AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — Four days after approving a policy protecting transgendered students, the East Aurora District 131 school board voted Friday night to rescind it.

The vote was 4-0, with two members absent and out of the country.

Twenty people in the overflow crowd spoke; 17 voiced support for the policy, including Victoria Beltran, who has three children in District 131 schools.

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“If you go against it, there’s no reason to support you guys,” she told the board. “We need to hear everyone in our district and not people outside our district.”

Beltran was speaking of the Illinois Family Institute, which seized on the policy change Tuesday, calling it “radical and offensive” and urging opponents statewide to speak out. The group has consistently opposed gay rights.

No one representing the institute spoke at the meeting.

School Board President Annette Johnson has said her panel was erroneously advised by an assistant superintendent that the transgender policy was necessary to meet changes in the Illinois school code.

The policy rescinded by the District 131 board would have allowed students to choose an identity by which they would be known, to be able to use the locker rooms and lavatories representing the gender they choose and to participate in sports and classes restricted by gender.

Supporters said the locker room and lavatory issues could be addressed easily by designating a one-stall washroom for use by transgendered students.  During the meeting and after the vote, several people said they would explore the possibility of legal action to reinstate the policy.

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