Parental rights and student privacy suffered another setback Wednesday night when the Snohomish School District voted 6-0 to change its policy on how its schools manage student gender identity issues.
The school board voted in favor of opening up all locker rooms, showers, changing facilities, and bathrooms to students of any gender or biological sex. You can read the entire policy change here.
Furthermore, the district will not be notifying students or their parents about other students’ usage of the facilities, in an effort to protect the privacy of those students. This means that young girls will not be notified that a biological male plans to use the same showers and changing areas as they do, and parents will be left unaware that biological males may be showering or dressing with their daughters.
As it stands now, the policy requires no medical proof for being “transgender,” nor is there a requirement that a student must observe a trans- identity at all times.
Additionally, “The District will provide all students the opportunity to participate in physical education and athletic programs and opportunities in a manner that is consistent with their gender identities,” according to the policy document adopted by the school board. The decision comes after students in Alaska voiced their frustration after a biological male won third and fifth place in events at the girls’ state track championships.
This policy change also undermines parental rights. Though the school district’s procedures allow for contacting and involving a gender transitioning student’s parents when the student permits, or when it is legally necessary to do so, parents may be left out of the process altogether. A student who begins to identify as the other gender will be given “support” by school officials, with or without the involvement of the student’s parents.
Furthermore, school officials will now use the student’s preferred name and gender, regardless of whether parents are notified or what gender is listed on official documents like birth certificates. The purpose of these changes, according to the district, is “to maximize the student’s social integration and equal opportunity to participate in social, athletic and academic opportunities, ensure the student’s safety, modesty and comfort, and minimize stigmatization.”
What about the safety, modesty, and comfort of females who will now be unwittingly showering and changing with biological males? By changing their policies to ensure the “comfort” of transgender students, the school district is sacrificing the privacy of the vast majority of students who are uncomfortable with the idea of showering and changing with students of the other biological sex.
What happened yesterday at the Snohomish School District meeting should function as a wake up call to parents throughout the state. It is time to become involved in your child’s school district by attending school board meetings. Find out whether your local school board intends to adopt similar policies, and if so, raise awareness among other parents and share your feelings with your school board.
If this concerns you, or your children, please contact the Snohomish School District immediately and let them know what you think. Their next meeting is Wednesday, July 27th, at 6:00pm.
Dr. Bill Mester, School Superintendent | 360-563-7280 | [email protected]
Scott Peacock, Asst. Superintendent of Leadership & Learning | 360-563-7284 | [email protected]
School Board Members