Baraboo among first schools in state to adopt transgender athletic policy

Community testimony divided over new policy
Baraboo among first schools in state to adopt transgender athletic policy
Baraboo Board of Education meeting

The Baraboo Board of Education approved a new policy that makes Baraboo one of the first schools in the state to adopt a transgender athletic policy.

The board approved the policy 4-3 after an emotional night of testimony from parents, teachers, students and numerous community members.

The public testimony covered whether to follow the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and add a transgender policy in relation to athletes.

More than 70 people packed into the Baraboo High School library with more than 30 of them talking during the public testimony portion of the meeting. About two-thirds spoke out in favor of the new policy.

The people who spoke out in favor of the policy said the state policy talks about three goals for athletes identifying themselves as a member of the opposite sex: equality, physical safety and a level playing field.

The WIAA policy says “Member schools shall ensure that all students have access ad opportunities to participate in athletics without discrimination based on disability, race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, national origin or ancestry.”

Those speaking out against the policy said there were so many unanswered questions, like how facilities like restrooms would work and the issue of going against religious beliefs. They also asked the school board to table the issue and put it on the April ballot to get community input before moving forward.

The school board president echoed the people against the policy, saying that he originally supported the move, but that it had become too divisive and needed more time.

The board president said the new policy will be in place as soon as it can be printed.