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By Hilde Kate Lysiak
Separate petitions, one asking the school board to support and one that asks it to reject letting Transgender people use either girls or boys bathrooms have been launched in Selinsgrove.
The petition that supports a new policy of letting Transgender people use either boys or girls bathrooms has 149 supporters, at the time of this story.
‘’…Imagine being a male forced to use the women’s bathroom or locker room, or vice versa. It would be an incredibly uncomfortable situation. Imagine having to do that everyday. That would be extremely stressful. The transgender students at Selinsgrove Area High School genuinely feel that they are the opposite sex in every aspect except for the physical,’’ read the petition.
However, more people have signed the petition rejecting a change in policy: the petition to remove the new policy already has 243 supporters, at the time of this story.
‘’***We ask that the Selinsgrove Area School District Board stop the new practice of permitting students of one sex to use the bathroom, locker rooms and showers of students of the opposite sex based on how they identify their gender. We ask that they go back to permitting all students to use multi-user bathrooms, locker rooms and showers of their biological/anatomical sex, and to permit any student who desires greater privacy to use single-user private facilities if they prefer that. We want to ensure the safety and protect the right to privacy of each and every student.***,’’read the petition to remove the new policy.
More than sixty people showed up at the Selinsgrove Middle School on Nov 14th 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.
The petitions were first reported by Selinsgrove Concerned Citizens.
The Selinsgrove School Board is holding a public engagement session on November 30th at 7pm at the Middle School.