Orange Street News


Tensions Rise Over Transgender People Using Bathrooms in Grove! Public Forum Set!


By Hilde Kate Lysiak

Tensions were high last night at the Selinsgrove School Board Meeting as angry parents and members of the community showed up to express their views on transgender people using bathrooms.

More than sixty people showed up at the Selinsgrove Middle School to voice their opinions, with nearly all of the speakers upset about a letter they received that said transgender people would be able to go into the boys or girls bathrooms. The board said that it has three transgender students in the district.

“My daughter said she never wants to use the school bathroom again,” one woman told the school board.

“You are taking away that safe zone,” another added.

But Roger W Sheesley, who agreed to represent the board, pleaded with the angry parents that the board was just trying to follow the rules set up by the Federal Government.

“The board did not make this policy or vote on it. Title 9 is what changed, not our position,” Sheesley told the board. “You can be upset about that but that is where this came from. This is what our administration was acting on. As a result of not following Title 9 we could lose funding.”

Sheesley added that lawsuits from private organizations are even a greater threat to us “than anything the government can do.”

Parents were not satisfied with Sheesley’s explanation.

“This is not about discriminating against transgenders. This is about our right to privacy,” one angry woman said.

“You are literally putting hundreds of kids at risk,” another parent said.

“I’m asking the board to roll this back,” another woman shouted.

“You have put the rest of our children at risk,” another parent told the school board.

Sheesley said he understood why they were upset, but that by sending the letter the school was just doing what they were told.

“We are in a no -win position,” Sheesley countered. “We didn’t create this position.”

Sheesley also admitted that mistakes were made when the school notified parents by a letter that all bathrooms are now open to transgender people.

“We haven’t responded the way we should have but we responded the way the higher-ups told us to respond,” he said.

Still, parents were not satisfied.

“You rolled this out incognito and lost our trust. And I’m just speaking from a good ole boys standpoint, but please, lets establish trust,” said one parent.

“Our children were put at risk by a decision that was made by our administration,” another parent added.

Sheelsey assured all parents that despite the letter the policy will be reviewed and nothing is final.

A public forum will be held on Wednesday November 30th at 7pm the Selinsgrove Middle School Auditorium. After the meeting the board will talk to lawyers then vote on a policy.

“Let it come down to a vote and let the chips fall where they may,” said Sheesley.

9 comments on “Tensions Rise Over Transgender People Using Bathrooms in Grove! Public Forum Set!

  1. NO penis in the ladies room!
    November 15, 2016

    Title 9 is on its way out as we have a change in president/congress. Lets not social engineer. A child has no idea if they are a deviant.


  2. Melissa Reed
    November 15, 2016

    Wow! Such ignorance! Transgender kids are just kids, just like your kids and my kids, only THEY are the ones in danger, not our kids! How would you feel if your child was in turmoil, possibly even suicidal, over the physical body he/she was born into? And then compound that turmoil by knowing that even ADULTS (who are supposed to be more mature than kids) are fighting over you and calling you names like “deviant”? Way to go, Selinsgrove!
    And now you want to jeopardize Federal Title IX funding, which in part makes Selinsgrove ASD one of the very best in the country, by choosing discrimination over acceptance and education? I bet your high school age students could educate you a lot better about what makes a person transgender and how that doesn’t make them a danger to anyone.
    People, it’s time to stop judging anyone who doesn’t look like you, think like you, act like you or respond the way you would like them to. Let’s be more caring, more understanding, more accepting of our differences.
    Transgender students/boys/girls/men/women are more afraid of what you could do to them than you should be of what they “might” do to you. And this story illustrates perfectly why.


  3. Rayden
    November 15, 2016

    Why was there no reporting from the stand point of protection for transgender students? If they don’t have transgender students now, they surely will at some point. The school board could have come from this perspective too. Instead they passed the buck and blamed the higher ups. That was a weak move. Transgender students are at more risk of harassment and abuse in public schools than most other students. It’s not just about the bathrooms. But when a school board can create a policy that anticipates the needs of transgender students they become prepared for future trans students and don’t have to guess what to do when it feels like a crisis. Bathrooms are not nor have they ever been purely private and safe spaces. Unless we address the fact that bathrooms are often the hidden places where students are harassed for many reasons we will not be able to protect anyone. Let’s teach the kids about respect and how to look out for one another, not to shun members of their community based on stereotypes.


  4. Nicole Brennan
    November 16, 2016

    Can we please admit that logical, rational people are not afraid of the transgender student.  They are afraid of sexual predators, and it’s a legitimate fear.  But a predator has no regard for rules or decency, and drawing a stick figure on a door or changing a policy is not going to protect anyone from them.
    The overwhelming number of victims of sexual assault is real.  Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones and talk about what you have personally experienced and realize how widespread this problem is. Then realize that we can not protect victims by restricting the rights of a small number of people who are not the problem.
    But, we can address the concerns by addressing the real issue.  We can speak out about sexual assault. We can educate.  We can push for stronger punishment for aggressors. We can stop making excuses for aggressor’s behavior. Stop treating our young men like they can’t control themselves. Stop blaming the survivors and asking what they did wrong. Stop pretending that it’s only our daughters who are victims.     
    You have every right to be concerned about your children’s safety But if you are focusing on which bathroom a transgender student uses rather than sexual assault as the real issue, you are not doing the most you can to keep them safe. And if you are taking away the transgender students rights out of fear, you are creating an environment where you are making our students victims while claiming you are trying to protect them.


  5. Joel Breiber
    November 19, 2016

    What is a “transgender” student anyway ? Why did we not hear about them before now ? Probably it is nothing physical, but just a psychological quirk or mental attitude. If they are such a tiny minority, they must show deference to and respect for the vast majority of normal Americans. If a boy has normal private parts but imagines he is or wishes he were girl, he could do his few minutes of waste elimination in the boys’ restroom and would not suffer any distress or harm.


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