NSAA schools forced to deal with controversy

Monday, April 11, 2016

Nebraska isn't in danger of losing any major sporting events, thanks to a Nebraska School Activities Association vote last week.

North Carolina is risking that, and has already lost events like a Bruce Springsteen concert over what critics are calling its "anti-LGBT bathroom bill" which prohibits transgendered people from using their choice in public restrooms, and also eliminates anti-discrimination protections.

As the result of a 23-27 vote with one abstention, the NSAA's new policy creates a process for transgender students to participate in high school sports.

The existing policy leaves the initial decision on allowing a transgender student to participate in his or her "expressed gender" up to the high school.

Then the matter goes to an NSAA committee to weigh documentation from friends, family, teachers and doctors.

It isn't as simple as flipping a coin. Males who want to transition to female must provide documentation of at least a year of hormone therapy, and will be required to use private bathrooms and locker rooms or those that match their biological gender.

Friday's vote turned down a proposal which would have required student athletes to compete as the sex listed on their birth certificate.

Neither side is happy with the current situation

Nebraska Catholic bishops issued a statement saying that while "any person who experiences gender dysphoria is entitled to the respect that is the right of every human person, as well as genuine concern and the support needed for personal development and well-being" that "such support ... must be provided with due consideration to fairness; the safety, privacy and rights of all students and the truth about the human person."

The statement also decries the "failure of the delegates' vote to reflect the position of the majority of member schools -- including public schools -- expressed at the January district meetings" as "contrary to what would expect of a 'member-driven organization.'"

The Nebraska Family Alliance was also disappointed in the vote, both because "the NSAA has ignored the leadership of their districts and the voices of thousands of parents, grandparents, students and taxpaying citizens.

"Allowing some students to participate in athletics and activities without regard to biological sex does not solve problems -- it creates them," the group said.

But while the vote avoided what would have been one of the most restrictive policies in the country, the ACLU warned that the surviving January policy "opens the state to lawsuits and loss of federal money and other advocates called it an 'unfair and onerous' system that subjects transgender students to a process no other students must undergo."

Despite the low number of students who are or will be affected by the controversy, public, private and parochial schools governed by the NSAA are forced to deal with issues on the leading edge of social change in America.

The turmoil only serves to make homeschooling more attractive.

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