JANESVILLE, Wis. – Officials in Wisconsin’s Janesville school district will now allow transgender students to use whatever school facilities they feel comfortable with, as long as their parents agree.
“The policy adopted by the board says schools will provide reasonable accommodations for transgender students, including use of single-sex facilities such as locker rooms, after receiving written requests from their parents or guardians,” the Associated Press reports. “School principals must approve the requests.”
School officials at Congressman Paul Ryan’s alma mater said they adopted the policy last Friday as a means to prohibit gender identity discrimination, despite the fact that some schools already have gender neutral bathroom facilities. The move was praised by the district’s Gay-straight Alliance, the news service reports.
“I have to commend the school board and the school district for stepping up,” Craig High School teacher and Gay-straight Alliance advisor Katy Hess said. “The GSA and a lot of people were really pleased to see that.”
Some people who commented on the news, however, were obviously not pleased.
“Good deal. A male identifies as a female and gets access to the female locker room,” Eric Thompson commented on Channel3000.com. “I see more people who have the means transferring to private schools.”
Local LGBT activist Jennifer Clute contends the policy will make school more comfortable for transgender students, and commended the district for getting on “the right side of history,” Channel 3000 reports.
“I think it sends a strong message that we are on the right side of history,” she said. “It’s just about comfort, and you learn better. You thrive when you have an accommodating environment that allows you to be who you are.”
Yolanda Cargile, the district’s director of student services, echoed Clute’s sentiments.
“We are a proactive district,” she told Channel 3000. “We want to make sure we have procedures in place before an issue becomes an issue.”
The obvious question, of course, is what about the comfort and accommodating environment for non transgender students who will be forced to use school facilities with students who are technically of the opposite sex?
A male student using the female showers or locker room would surely upset some students and parents, but their comfort seems to be an afterthought.
Is the comfort of the vast majority of non transgender students less important?
It seems like the new policy not only discriminates against straight students, it opens up a huge can of worms that will undoubtedly concern the majority of parents – exactly the opposite of a proactive “solve an issue before it becomes an issue” mentality.
LGBT “rights” might be an important cause for liberals like Cloute, but implementing policies that put the “rights” and “comfort” of transgender students ahead of the majority of straight students only perpetuates the problem of unfair treatment to one set of students at the expense of another.