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Grants Pass Educators On Leave After Calling For “Anatomical” Bathrooms

Two women sit on a leather couch with a rustic wood-paneled backdrop.
I Resolve / YouTube
In a YouTube video, North Middle School science teacher Katie Medart (left) and Assistant Principal Rachel Damiano promote a series of measures around student gender identity. Their online campaign is called "I Resolve."

Two educators in Grants Pass are on leave after they started an online campaign pushing back against efforts to accommodate transgender students.

North Middle School Assistant Principal Rachel Damiano and seventh-grade science teacher Katie Medart are promoting a resolution in response to an Oregon bill that would require the state to create an education plan for students who identify as LGBTQ.

In a YouTube video, Medart says they’d like to change bathroom signs that are normally labeled as “boys” and “girls.”

“So instead of saying that, it would then read ‘anatomical male’ and ‘anatomical female,’” Medart says. “What that then is referencing is: what, in essence, what genitalia do you have? Because they’re designed in form and function, both of those facilities, for anatomical anatomy.”

Their resolution also gives educators the option of declining to call students by their preferred pronouns and would require parental permission before changing a student’s name or pronouns.

In a follow-up YouTube video, Medart and Damiano say about 200 people have signed a petition in support of their resolution. They say they initially had support from school district leaders, although the district has recently released a statement saying it doesn't condone their message.

“These postings were not authorized by the District and are not official statements or positions of the District,” the statement reads. “At this time, an investigation is underway, and the individuals are not at work.”

Grants Pass School District 7 spokesperson Kristin Hosfelt​ wouldn’t clarify if the educators were put on paid administrative leave.

April Ehrlich is an editor and reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, she was a news host and reporter at Jefferson Public Radio.