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September 24, 2013

How Richland school board decided transgender student won't be homecoming king

— The Richland school board decided on Monday to not allow a transgender student to run for homecoming king.

Kasey Caron, a 17-year-old senior who was born a female but was diagnosed at an early age with polycystic ovary syndrome, hoped to be on the ballot for homecoming king.

The board took no formal action, but fell back on a previous decision by school officials.

“No formal action is required due to the board agreeing with the previous decision of the administration,” board Solicitor Timothy Leventry said from a prepared statement.

“Basically they’re leaving Kasey on the female ballot,” Kasey’s mother, Kathy Caron, said after the meeting. “I’m disappointed.”

About 20 people listened as Kathy Caron read a prepared statement asking the board to address three issues:

  • Allowing Kasey to wear a cap and gown of male color during graduation.
  • Adding gender identity to the school’s protection under its bullying policies.
  • Establishing a gay-straight alliance at the high school this year.

Board President Michael Bodolosky said the board would need time to review the issues.

“The major issue that we discussed was the homecoming issue,” he said.

“We have finalized that. We will take all these other issues under advisement.”

Kasey Caron also expressed disappointment.

“I expected it to be a little more of a discussion rather than flat out telling me they’re going to take their own time,” he said after the meeting.

“I guess I’m going to have to wait.”

John A. DeBartola, president of the Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter, read a prepared statement urging the board to respect the rights of transgender students.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.

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