From EAG News:
MOUNT HOREB, Wis. – Mount Horeb school board member Peter Strube made the issue sound one-sided, as if there are no legitimate concerns when it comes to allowing biological boys to use girls’ school restrooms and shower facilities, or vice-versa.
“Let the word go forth here and now that this board will stand united and we will not be intimidated and we will teach tolerance and will be accepting to everyone,” Strube was quoted as saying at a Monday night board meeting.
The other board members responded to Strube’s plea by voting 7-0 to accept a new district policy that will give transgender students the right to use the restroom or locker room facilities of their choice, as well as other privileges, according to a report from Madison.com.
Some might question whether the board’s action showed much “tolerance” or “acceptance” of the honest concerns of people like Steve Hufton or the Rev. Travis Beck, two Mount Horeb residents.
Hufton, a grandparent of two students, did not express any disdain for transgender students. He simply pointed out what has become obvious in many other districts facing the same issue – that some students will be uncomfortable changing, showering or going to the bathroom with classmates of the same biological gender, and have a right to traditional standards of modesty and privacy.
“My concerns are from an egalitarian point of view, that the rights of all the children should be carefully considered,” Hufton was quoted as saying before the board voted. “I believe that little girls have the right to privacy when using the restroom, and I don’t think, in my opinion, they should be exposed to an anatomically correct – an anatomical – male, because that would violate their right to privacy.”
Beck, the pastor of a Mount Horeb church, said he was concerned that students who may not morally approve of the transgender lifestyle are being made to feel like they are wrongly and unnecessarily intolerant.
“If you don’t embrace the lifestyle, then you’re a bully and a bigot,” he said.
The transgender issue boiled to the surface in Mount Horeb in recent weeks, after elementary school officials cancelled plans to read the book “I Am Jazz” to students in grades 1-3. The book tells a sympathetic, supportive tale of a transgender child.
The school planned the reading to show support for a six-year-old student who had “just transitioned from a boy to a girl,” in the words of Madison.com.
The event was cancelled when the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based law firm, threatened to sue the school if it went ahead with the reading. The law firm claimed that a sympathetic presentation of the book to small children would violate the rights of some parents to raise their children with the moral standards they believe in.
The Liberty Counsel noted that parents were only notified one business day in advance of the scheduled reading, leaving parents little time to react.
The cancellation touched off a controversy in the community, with many people reportedly on both sides of the issue. A group of students arranged a reading of “I Am Jazz” outside Mount Horeb High School, which attracted about 200 people, the news report said.
The school board did not do what so many other school officials around the nation have done – quickly and quietly adopt transgender-friendly policies due to a threat from the federal government to withhold crucial aid dollars if they failed to comply.
The Mount Horeb board hosted a public meeting, allowing people on both sides of the issue to speak their minds, before taking a united stand in favor of open restroom and locker room access.
Nobody can accuse the board members of hiding from their critics or maneuvering behind the scenes.
Yet the board’s seemingly strong stand had a quiet note of ambiguity which seems to leave the issue open to some degree.
According to Madison.com, “The new measures approved by the board leave room for discretion by district administrators. Any requests from transgender students related to the use of facilities such as restrooms, locker rooms and changing areas ‘will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant interests of the students, the school district, and other students affected by the request,’ the new policy reads.”
The key words there are “taking into account all relevant interests of the students,” including “other students affected by the request.”
Does that mean district administrators will have the power to withhold open restroom and locker room access for transgender kids if other students, or their parents, express discomfort with the idea?
That almost certainly will happen. While the Mount Horeb school board may be unanimous in its approval of open restroom and locker room access, the rest of the state is clearly divided, and many people clearly object.
As Julaine Appling, president of the Wisconsin Family Council, was quoted as saying by OneNewsNow.com, “Our offices have entertained phone calls from parents, grandparents, and other concerned citizens from school districts all over the state [who are] alarmed at policies that the local school districts have been considering and, most of the time, implementing.”