An Arizona high school has a policy allowing transgender students to change in their preferred locker rooms and telling female students to use alternative facilities if they are uncomfortable, according to emails obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Students and parents at Catalina Foothills High School (CFHS) in Tucson, Arizona, found out about the new policy after Bart Pemberton, a parent of a female student from CFHS, spoke with radio host Garrett Lewis about an “unwritten policy” that another parent had told him about. The policy not only allows transgender students in the bathroom or locker room of their choice but also tells students who are uncomfortable with the policy to request an accommodation to use different changing facilities, according to emails obtained by the DCNF.
Pemberton told the DCNF that when he heard about the policy he set up a meeting with the school’s principal Jody Brase for Feb. 21.
“According to [Brase] it is an unwritten and unadvertised policy for the past 10 years,” Pemberton said. “It’s basically whatever they (the school administration) want it to be since it isn’t ‘official.’ Her rationale was that this is a small number of kids, the other kids know who they are, the kids almost always don’t fully undress, most of the kids won’t use the locker rooms, etc.”
Eileen Jackson, president of the Catalina Foothills School District (CFS) governing board, told Pemberton in an email obtained by the DCNF that the district’s Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity policy covers such matters and “guide[s] our administrators in their daily decisions that arise in the operation of our schools.”
“Similarly, any student who is uncomfortable sharing multiple-occupancy facilities with others has the ability to request an accommodation,” Jackson said. “Our district administrators respond to their needs and find alternatives for those students. In this way, we treat all students in the same manner. Further, our administrators do not require any student to be singled out or isolated based on any of the protected statuses identified in our policy.”
Pemberton told Jackson that her statement directly contradicted what Brase had told him and asked that the school board talk about the policies at the district’s March 28 meeting.
Pemberton told Brase his concerns were based on what had happened at other schools like in Loudoun County, Virginia, when a male student, claiming to be transgender, allegedly sexually assaulted two girls in two different school bathrooms. Brase allegedly told Pemberton that she was “aware” of what had happened in Virginia but was “confident it wouldn’t happen here.”
Genon Thomas, a female student at Catalina, told the DCNF that the school had failed to inform her that she would have to share the bathroom or locker room with biologically male students, calling the policy the “dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
“I found out through my family members sending the news to me since they found out,” Thomas said. “I shouldn’t have to share a bathroom or locker room with people who were not born the same gender as me. I just would not feel comfortable.”
Chandler Thomas, Genon’s older brother, and his cousin Dylan Thomas told the DCNF that they concerned about safety and potential discrimination against female students.
“By enforcing the policy to allow non-biological females to use the women’s bathroom, they directly force two options on biological females: 1) Use the same bathroom uncomfortably around these individuals or 2) choose to use another bathroom to feel comfortable,” Chandler Thomas, an alum of CFHS, said. “Simply put, this is discrimination caused by hate for discrimination, very reminiscent of the force driving Marxist ideology. This policy discriminates against biological females as well as any information opposing the ideology that manifested this policy.”
Dylan Thomas said he wanted “a definitive answer” about how the school will keep its students “safe, protected and comfortable.” Thomas also objected to his siblings and other students being subjected to “this delusion” and wondered how the school could claim it was preventing discrimination when it would force girls to leave their own locker room.
A spokesperson from CFSD district told the DCNF that no students are “singled out or isolated based on any of the protected statuses identified in our policy.”
“The CFSD Governing Board’s policy, unanimously adopted in 2015, states that our district is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ethnicity, religion, creed, age or disability,” the spokesperson said.
The district did acknowledge that any students who are “uncomfortable sharing multiple-occupancy facilities (e.g., restrooms, locker rooms)” can “request an accommodation,” noting that administrators “find alternatives for those students.”
Jennifer Pershing, a mother of four with one student at CFHS, told the DCNF the school is embracing a “dangerous social contagion” and “discriminating against the truth.” Perishing said she has “compassion for children suffering from gender dysphoria” but argued that it was not going to help anyone to “pretend it is normal.”
Pershing said some parents have tried to ignore what is going on because it feels like a losing battle, but she said that the “transgender ideology is a lie” and will “ultimately fail.”
Dylan Thomas noted that parents he has spoken to are looking for ways to take their kids out of high school either by transferring or homeschooling.
“Parents, teachers, and siblings that I have talked to couldn’t believe it, no one thought this delusional reality would come this far and seep into our own backyard,” Thomas said.
CFHS and Brase did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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