Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

By John Haenn

Advocates of fluid definitions of gender found themselves stymied and flustered by simple questions from the audience and school board at last night’s (Dec. 18) Penn Delco (Pa) School Board meeting.

They were on hand to support a proposed new policy that would add “gender identity” to a student’s accepted identity even if it differs from the birth certificate.

This would effectively give by-right access to traditionally gender-segregated places and athletic teams to all desiring such access regardless of biology.

Testifying for a policy change were Samantha King, who directs the sex and gender clinic  at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP); counselor Erica Smith; and Quinton Cruise of the Pennsylvania Youth Conference, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

School Superintendent George Steinhoff noted that the district now handles such matters of confusion on a case-by-case basis with the emphasis on protecting the child. He questioned their claim that failing to adopt a general policy would violate federal law as an Obama-era directive had been rescinded.  Ms. King said court battles were  occurring but conceded that he was correct. School Board Solicitor Mike Puppio would also point out that there are no laws binding on this.

School Director Lisa Esler noted that CHOP’s website suggested that single-room bathrooms as an option for children having difficulty. She said that the school district has those including one in the nurse’s office.

“Single use bathrooms might not be close,” Ms. King responded. “Also kids might get sick using the nurse’s bathroom.”

Mrs. Esler asked Cruise if any research had occurred regarding  the impact and emotional distress on the 99.9 percent of the student population in currently segregated areas. He became noticeably flustered and removed himself from the podium. Ms. King stepped in to rescue him.

“Someone not trans can also use single-use bathrooms,” she said which didn’t really answer the question.

Mrs. Esler asked if the policy would extend to adult visitors at the school.

“It doesn’t matter because adults use faculty facilities anyway,” said Ms. King.

Then the audience took over.

“How do you handle mean kids, bullies?” one person asked.

“Bathrooms are just unsafe,” Ms. King answered. “Adding gender identity to the polices helps address bullies.”

“Should there be a security guard in the bathroom now?” one person asked.

“Students can handle this,” said Ms. King. “Friends and going into the bathroom with a buddy. The non-bullies and trans students can use the special bathrooms.”

“We’re already complying, this is a waste of time,” said one person.

“You don’t comply because you have no policy,” said Ms. King. “You don’t comply because you can’t use any bathroom you want.”

The board discussed the matter. Director Georgia Stone pointed out that the district is not in the best position to help students decide who they are.

“This impacts too much, lives, families and friends, future,” she said. “This should be left to the courts on a case-by-case basis.” She noted that the district would of course comply with a court order.

Several residents made public comments. One said “This is a far reach” as there are already unisex bathrooms, the district is accommodating and that there already are bullying policies. One said “getting changed in a locker room is already stressful,” and a new policy should be enacted before it gets worse. Another said “all students need to be given equal rights”. Another who moved into the district a year ago from Chester County said “I know students are bullied and some decide to be home schooled. Students are mean.”

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

Gender Policy Change Pitch Made In Penn Delco

 

 

 

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