While admissions policies at single-sex colleges and universities across the United States are increasingly including all students who identify themselves as female, private all-girl high schools are still debating how to proceed in a changing environment.
A Transgender Study Task Force was created by the National Coalition of Girls Schools in 2013 in an effort to research the issue. As a result, the NCGS recommended that schools work with families and students on a “case by case basis,” writes Kerry Pickett for The Daily Caller.
“There’s the physiological boy who identifies as a girl that wants to come to an all girls school. There’s a physiological girl who identifies as a boy that wants to come to an all girls school. And then there is someone that enrolls in an all-girls school that wants to transition once they are here,” said an educational source for The Daily Caller.
High schools across the country are also considering a change to their policies concerning transgender student athletes. The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors have recently announced a new policy, which will go into effect on July 1, allowing transgender students to become eligible for school teams based on medical therapy from a licensed physician, reports Jacob Unruh for The Oklahoman.
“The main concern is competitive balance,” OSSAA assistant director Amy Cassell said. “Generally, a male is going to be bigger, faster, stronger than a female, so we wanted to be sure that students that were transgender male to female did not do anything to compromise that competitive balance on the female side.”
The move makes the state the 36th to approve such a policy. At the same time, the South Dakota High School Activities Association is set to discuss a similar policy to allow students to compete on the team that reflects their gender identities rather than the sex marked on their birth certificates.
Meanwhile, Barnard College in New York City recently announced a new admissions policy that states the school will now consider all applicants who “who consistently live and identify as women.” This includes all students who were born as a male but identify as female, but not those born female who identify as men.
A number of other women’s colleges across the country have also created new policies concerning transgender students at their schools. One example saw all-girls Wellesley College create a new policy after about two dozen students at the school chose to identify themselves as male in 2014. Although not all such schools already have a policy in place, many have had conversations in the works for years concerning the subject, writes Evan Wilt for World Magazine.
Barnard’s new policy will go into effect for the 2016-17 school year.
There was no question that Barnard must reaffirm its mission as a college for women. And there was little debate that trans women should be eligible for admission to Barnard,” writes School president Debora Spar and board of trustees Chairwoman Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald.