Transgender elementary student sparks policy change in Oconomowoc

OCONOMOWOC (WITI) -- A transgender elementary student in Oconomowoc has sparked a change in school policy regarding using the bathroom. It's an issue the district is dealing with for the first time.

Concerns were brought to the attention of faculty and staff on Friday, September 6th after a transgender student at Summit Elementary School used the female bathroom while another student was inside.

"I think this is a difficult conversation because it involves children," said Superintendent Roger Rindo. "Student confidentiality is our primary concern."

After complaints from parents, the Oconomowoc School District has made a decision to provide a unisex bathroom at each school in the district.

"What's really important is that we're not singling anyone out -- that anybody can use that bathroom," said Rindo.

One faculty bathroom at all the schools will be re-purposed or relabeled as unisex.

Dr. Maureen White of the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center says she applauds the school district for standing up for diversity.

"I think it's really important for the young person to have facilities that they feel comfortable in," said Dr. White. "The truth is, there have been gender neutral bathrooms at the malls, at universities, and at the center for the last 10 years."

Dr. White also hopes the new policy can be turned into a learning experience about equality.

"Youth were often bullied in schools before because of diversity concerns and I think this is groundbreaking in the sense that, hopefully, more schools will follow," said White.

FOX6 spoke with some parents off-camera who say they feel their children are not ready to learn about issues that some may consider "sensitive."

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