By Lisa Washington

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Transgender students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools District may now use whichever bathroom corresponds with the gender with which they identify.

The school board approved the new policy with a unanimous vote Wednesday night. The board hopes the plan will be in place by the start of the school year in the fall.

“The most important part of this is going to be principal training, teacher training, and our security guards and our nurses,” said board member Moria Kaleida. “But I think now that we passed this in time, we have plenty of time to plan over the summer and implement this correctly going into next year.”

Vanessa Davis helped write the policy. She said, “It really protects all students and affirms identities of particularly transgender, gender expansive students. And it really allows them to fully participate in their education.”

” There are transgender students in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in this city. And those students now are really gonna have a much better experience in school,” Davis went on to say.

Board members say the policy has gotten a lot of support from the public, but not everyone is happy with Wednesday’s vote.

“I’m disappointed that the board didn’t take the request that we felt that we needed more discussion. The policy needed revision and clarification,” Cletus Marie Abate said. “I feel that the school district has to work in the best interest of all students in the district and not have a selective agenda.”

Abate said one of her biggest concerns is that the Pittsburgh Public Schools policy doesn’t require schools to alert parents if their child comes out as transgender unless the student gives permission or there’s a legal obligation requiring the district to do so.

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