Elanco school board

Rodney Jones, second from left, and other Eastern Lancaster County school board members discuss a student privacy policy Monday, May 13, 2019. Jones has resigned from the board.

During a tense, nearly three-hour meeting Monday night, the Eastern Lancaster County school board voted to delay implementation of its controversial student privacy policy until next school year.

The policy – which calls for private, single-user bathrooms and locker rooms districtwide – was initially set to take effect Tuesday.

But concerns over an addendum that would force students to use facilities that align only to their biological sex, rather than their gender identity, compelled the board members to vote in favor of the delay.

“I think the policy is a good policy,” board Vice President Rodney Jones said during the meeting. “I think the addendum is … not enforceable.”

Jones expressed adamant opposition to the addendum, which he said would set “a dangerous precedent” and spur a costly legal battle between the district and any of the district’s transgender students.

He warned his fellow board members that it violates the law, and that courts decided in favor of transgender individuals 46 out of 46 times in the past two decades.

Jones made a motion to discuss removing the addendum, but confusion arose over what the board could do since they already passed the policy last month.

Board member Jonathan Dahl then made a motion to delay the implementation date. The vote was 6-3, with board President Glenn Yoder and members Gary Buck and Bryan Naranjo dissenting,

Many of the 100 or so residents in attendance saw the delay coming.

“It doesn’t surprise me. I think there were a lot of holes in the policy overall,” Stu Martin, 55, of East Earl Township, told LNP after the meeting.

Superintendent Bob Hollister questioned whether students could change for physical education classes or athletics if the policy was implemented Tuesday. He also expressed concern over enforcement of the addendum.

“I won’t ask the administration to pull a transgender student out of those areas,” he said, referring to bathrooms and locker rooms.

About a dozen single-user bathrooms currently not open to students could be made available for those who don’t feel comfortable using less private facilities, he said, but it could take months to change the locks so students could have access.

New Holland resident Richard Hodge said the confusion made it clear that the policy, particularly the addendum, was “rushed.”

“It was clear … that there was a lot of political pressure to vote a certain way,” Hodge, 26, said, “and that was evident of how it was rushed and it was also evident in how poorly they attempted to implement something.”

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