Kearney Public Schools considers transgender athlete participation

The Kearney Public School Board met on Monday to discuss inclusion of transgender athletes in school sports.
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:04 AM CST
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The Kearney Public School Board met on Monday to discuss inclusion of transgender athletes in school sports.

The board had two policy versions to consider during their meeting, voting 4 to 2 in favor of Version A.

That policy said that students athletic participation in grades 6 through 12 would be restricted to a student’s biological sex, at birth as stated on the student’s original birth certificate or subsequent court order. It also said any student, regardless of their birth sex, may participate in any extracurricular activity (including in after-school clubs) that allows both boys and girls to participate.

Read text of policy A version and of policy B version.

Monday night’s vote now sends the proposal to a second reading vote at a later date.

KPS Superintendent Jason Mundorf told Local4 ahead of the meeting that they could wait for the legislature regarding LB575 or wait for NSAA if they change their policies, but they wanted to take action.

“Our board felt like, where we are now in society, it would be great to take that on, and make a decision on how we want to handle those situations here in Kearney Public Schools with Board guidance,” Mundorf said.

During the almost four and half hour meeting the school board heard from over 40 speakers on the topic of limiting athletes to only participating in sports based off their gender assigned at birth.

Only a few speakers spoke on behalf of keeping with the NSAA’s method of inclusion for transgender athletes.

One particularly moving moment of the night was when KPS Board President Drew Blessing addressed the mental health of all transgender youths.

“To all students please know that I value you, I see you, and I am sorry that you are in the middle of this mess that we have created,” Blessing said.

From the packed room there was one transgender man who spoke on behalf of allowing transgender youth to participate in their chosen sport.

“The opportunity to race as my gender, and not assigned gender at birth has contributed to my mental health and success as an adult,” Connor Jacobson said. “It is in the communities best interest to provide the same opportunities to young trans athletes as we already do to cisgender athletes.”

Board members John D. Icenogle, Paul Hazard, Steve Gaasch and Drew Blessing voted in favor of policy A. Dave Brandt and Kathy Gifford voted against it.