The Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation is investigating statements made by a student at its Monday night school board meeting.
The student raised concerns about the corporation’s non-discrimination policy, saying it’s not protecting students who are transgender.
A year ago, the EVSC School Board voted to not add gender identity to its non-discrimination policy.
“With gender identity being added to the non-discrimination policy you are saying that you are providing a safe place for students like me,” said Arthur Westcott, a North High School/Shepard Academy junior. “As of now I don’t feel safe with there not being gender identity in the non-discrimination policy. “
Westcott is asking the EVSC School Board to consider adding gender identity to its non-discrimination policy.
Right now, EVSC lists: race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, genetic information, national origin, limited English proficiency, and disability in its non-discrimination policy.
“Their non-discrimination policy affects everyone in it, in the school system,” said Westcott. “And by not adding gender identity they’re affecting students like me.”
Westcott is a transgender male, meaning he was born a female but identifies as a male. He says, he’s had teachers refuse to call him Arthur, or accept that he is a transgender male. But, he says the biggest problem he faces at school is using the restroom, so he just avoids going while he’s at school.
Westcott says, because he was born a girl that’s how his school sees him but he’s hoping his request will change that.
“I flat out refuse to use the girls restroom cause that’s not who I identify as,” said Westcott. “I am on testosterone so a lot of people who I walk by see me as male.”
In response to Westcott’s allegations against the EVSC, the district issued this statement:
“We take reports of discrimination very seriously. We are now investigating the statements made by the student at last night’s [Monday] meeting. The nondiscrimination policy of the EVSC is very clear that we do not tolerate discrimination in any manner.”