Mystery over why Hillsboro school board members resigned

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – Debate continues in Hillsboro over how best to accommodate a male student who identifies as a female. But school board members who gave up their elected positions Thursday gave no indication that controversy influenced their decisions.

There's been intense media attention on Hillsboro High School for several weeks as the school district works to protect both the privacy and freedom of expression rights of all students.

Some parents feel the school board has made decisions privately when dealing with a male student who identifies as a female named Lila Perry.

“I think the current situation obviously did. Stress had to play a role in some of the resignations," said Derrick Good, a parent in the district.

The board members stepping down are board president John Stewart, and members Dan McCarthy and Charles 'Bo' Harrison. In their resignation letters, Stewart and Harrison gave no reason for stepping down. McCarthy said he was leaving because of “strained philosophical differences.”

"I was told by one member they had been thinking about this for the past several months, so that’s why I believe it is not one student-related issue that’s pushed the board or members to seek to resign their membership as a board member," said Hillsboro School Superintendent Aaron Cornman.

Over the Labor Day holiday, the district relabeled four restrooms at the high school “inclusive” to accommodate transgender students, while maintaining female and male segregated bathrooms to give students options.

An effort is underway to produce a model policy for student rights and Hillsboro is part of it.

Meanwhile, the remaining four members of the Hillsboro School Board can conduct business despite the vacancies. Interim members should be appointed by October.

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