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Conway School District prepares for possible lawsuit regarding anti-trans policies

In response to the Conway School District's recent anti-trans policies, the ACLU has been preparing to take legal action against the district.

CONWAY, Ark. — On Tuesday, dozens of people filled the Saint Peter's Episcopal Church in Conway. They all hoped to push back against the school district's new policies that restrict bathroom use and overnight room assignments to the student's gender at birth.

Maureen Skinner, therapist and mom of a Conway senior, explained that she's seen the impact of these policies firsthand.

"It's sort of my duty to speak up for those who cannot safely speak up for themselves. I have some transgender clients, and it's silencing them. Now they're being ostracized in public spaces, spaces that are supposed to be safe for all children," she added.

The school board voted on the new policies and was met with some community support last month.

School officials have commented that this decision was ultimately made to respect the comfort of the students, but the American Civil Liberties Union has claimed that such policies violate anti-discrimination laws.

In response to the Conway School District board's recent transgender restrictive policies, the ACLU is preparing to take possible legal action against the school district. 

In a letter, the ACLU expressed interest in working with parents and said they are looking into possible legal violations from the school board.

Responding to the ACLU's possible lawsuit, Conway's superintendent shared that the district "will seek the district's legal counsel on future steps."

Rector Greg Warren, who hosted Tuesday's meeting at the church in Conway, explained that the issue goes beyond bathroom use.

"I want the Conway school board and the leadership to do their job, which improves the things that really mattered in this community," Warren said.

Warren also added that while he's open to discussing opposition, the student must come first in district policies.

"Are [the policies] making it harder for a teacher to be effective? If they're limiting the kind of language that she can use? Or he? Is a kid who has to search for a bathroom likely to graduate or not? I don't know," Warren asked.

To accommodate students who don't feel comfortable in a gender-specific bathroom, the Conway School District explained that students can use single-stall bathrooms.

However, not all Conway school buildings have a single-use bathroom for students.

Though the district did say students can meet with school administrators to discuss the need to use staff bathrooms or other single-use facilities as needed.

As of now, no suit has been filed, but the ACLU, Conway School Board, as well as parents, are all preparing for the expected lawsuit.

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