Troy BOE considers OHSAA policy on athletes


TROY — After approving the district’s membership in the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) for the 2023-2024 school year, members of the Troy City Schools Board of Education are considering if the district should join a mass letter from school districts opposed to OHSAA policies allowing male and female student athletes to compete against each other.

“It allows for biological boys to compete against biological girls,” Board member Levi Fox said of the OHSAA policy. “There’s been some other schools around the state who have sent a letter to OHSAA just letting them know that they don’t support that part of it.”

“I would be in favor of that,” Fox said. “Part of what they have decided to do is not what we stand for here.”

Board members discussed the letter during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Monday, Feb. 13. The board also passed a resolution authorizing the district’s OHSAA membership for the 2023-2024 school year, which would not be affected if the district decides to join the mass-letter.

“I just want to read the letter and potentially see how everyone on the board feels about this, if this is something we would like to also do,” Fox said.

The mass letter questions the safety of the OHSAA policy, suggesting instead the formation of a “co-ed league within OHSA, to allow all boys and girls to compete in the same league, with rules and regulations to protect that environment.”

Board members plan to discuss the letter further during their next workshop meeting.

“I think we all have to get our minds wrapped around it a little bit,” Board President Sue Borchers said. “I’d have to look at the bylaws. The Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) has issues about this same topic, related to what federal laws approve versus the state.”

“I think we need to do a little more legwork on this,” Borchers said.

In other business, board members also heard an update on the STEP project, which aims to replace the grass at Ferguson and Troy Memorial Stadiums with artificial turf.

“Currently, the committee has pledges for $2.9 million of the $3.9 million needed,” Fox said. “Unfortunately, that means it’s not going to happen this year for the fall season.”

“They’ve decided to hire a marketing firm to help them get the last million dollars to get them over the finish line,” Fox said.

“That’s pretty much where they’re at right now,” District Superintendent Chris Piper said. “The effort continues, but they’re just not there yet.”

Board members also discussed the planned formation of a new citizen committee to consider plans for the construction of new school buildings in the future. The committee will meet this week for the first time.

“We’re calling it a building committee,” Borchers said. “I’m not sure that’s what the name is going to be. It’s a group of citizens that we’re beginning to gather together as a steering committee.”

“They are going to start looking at what the plan will be for building new buildings,” she said.

Board members also discussed the upcoming Young Masters exhibition that will be held from Feb. 17 to April 2 at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center, and saw a presentation on Forest Elementary School’s Empower Fourth-Grade Girls Group by Forest Elementary School Counselor Nancy Franklin and fourth-grade students LeAnn Martin and A’ziah Elder.

Designed to ease tensions created by the combination of Kyle Elementary and Forest Elementary School students, the program helps elementary-age girls learn to deal with “drama” in a positive way.

“It’s basically focusing on relational aggression, which is the formal term,” Franklin said. “In our terms, it’s how to handle girl drama.”

“I’m pleased with it,” Franklin said of the program. “The girls enjoy it. Out of the 40 girls in fourth grade, 30 girls signed up.”

The girls meet once per week during lunch and recess for the program, which also features presentations by local professionals. The girls also work on a variety of special projects, including tie-blankets that are displayed at Forest Elementary School and raffled off to students.

“As we tie it, you’d be surprised at the conversations that start among the girls,” Franklin said.

Board members discussed the possibility of expanding the program to include other grade levels in the future.

“It’s definitely something we want to expand on in the future,” Forest Elementary Principal Benjamin Ayers said. “Last year she also did the fifth-grade group, and we had some wonderful presenters come in and share different career opportunities.”

“I have to believe that this sort of thing might be an advantage, even in existing schools,” Borchers said.

“With the social media that the kids are exposed to, I could see us dropping it even down to third-grade next year,” Franklin said.

“You’re never going to totally stamp out drama,” she said. “It just isn’t possible.”

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