Bathrooms become a school board election issue

Challengers call to reverse Wausau schools’ new guidelines

Two challengers for seats on the Wausau School Board called on Board President Lance Trollop to immediately reverse the district’s transgender bathroom and locker room guidelines, issued in August.


Lee Webster and Jeff Kocha, who are on the ballot for the April election, are pushing for the changes in response to President Donald Trump’s directive to reverse transgender guidelines put in place by the Obama administration.

“These guidelines were misguided at best,” says Webster. “Why was the board president so quick to implement the guidelines in August and so reluctant to take leadership to change them now?”

Trollop tells City Pages he is “disappointed” by Webster and Kocha’s portrayal of his position “in an effort to get elected” and that it shows a significant lack of understanding about the power of a school board president.

“As president, my vote is worth no more than any other member,” Trollop says. “I have the responsibility to speak on behalf of the board, but I don’t have the power to implement guidelines or to revoke them.”

The recent letter from the Trump administration doesn’t immediately change anything, Trollop notes.

“It is possible [Trump’s letter] could impact the positions of board members as we continue to study this issue, as could the legal cases we are following and a review of how the guidelines worked this year in practice,” Trollop says.

Webster and Kocha are on the ballot for Wausau School Board along with incumbents Lance Trollop, Yvonne Henning and Jeff Leigh. The top three finishers in the April 4 election will join the other six incumbents already on the board. (S.S.)