A vote on the state's first guidelines for transgender students taking part in high school sports will be preceded by two days of sessions aimed at considering passionate input from differing groups trying to sway the Minnesota State High School League.
The transgender policy, which has sparked intense reaction and packed the league's Brooklyn Center headquarters in October, is an action item for Thursday's board meeting agenda.
The latest policy draft, encompassing two pages, includes new language regarding student eligibility to participate in high school league-sanctioned activities. The league sought the policy on behalf of its nearly 500 member schools.
A board workshop is scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday. Board members are expected to discuss the draft in preparation for Thursday's expected vote. The discussion will follow an expected subcommittee meeting, which will include organizations with vested interests in the policy.
The workshop on Oct. 1 drew an overflow crowd of about 150 people and included 28 public speakers. That passionate outcry came after board members received an estimated 10,000 e-mails on the subject.
The next day the league tabled a vote and sought more input, including using a feedback form on its website.
Wednesday afternoon's workshop is expected to permit little or no time for additional public input.
Limited public input also is expected at Thursday's board meeting. Dave Stead, league executive director, said in the interest of balance, speakers will be alternated based on their viewpoint for or against the policy. Each speaker will be allowed up to three minutes.
Thirty-two states already have "some sort of policy or procedure" in place regarding transgender student-athlete participation, Stead said.