By Katie Kresly, Gem of the Sound Reporter.
As we enter this coming school year, it is like none other.
- More anxiety and mental health issues
- Loss of school progress
- Rusty social skills
- Short staffing
The stressors are high and well-documented, so you as Directors have rightfully added
- More professional counselors,
- More training for the teachers and staff
- and Likely, “safe spaces” for students who simply need to have a time out
According to the Oxford Dictionary…
The term safe space generally means “a place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment or any other emotional or physical harm.”
Let me repeat that… “emotional or physical harm”
This is really good… because one of the most confusing factors to surface in the past few years has been the phenomenal increase in number of transgender kids. Kids who are not feeling comfortable in their skins. I get it. Hormones and puberty are quite upsetting and confusing. We’ve ALL been there, right?
It’s important to have safe spaces, especially since I foresee that we may soon need to expand the scope.
Historically, the bathrooms and locker rooms in schools have been single sex areas, based on biological separation of male and female. This allows safety and modesty.
For those students who have legitimate, documented, gender dysphoria, accomodation in these areas may be a logical step.
However, the deeper concern is that IF students can simply state a “gender preference” which MUST be respected (as proposed in changes to Title IX), then they may enter ANY gender bathroom or locker room at ANY time. No questions asked.
What happens if three or four boys identify as female, put on skirts, and decide to use the girls’ bathroom, which usually only has a single entrance.
How would you feel as a young girl – maybe 7 or 8 years old – when trapped in a confined space with multiple boys “IDENTIFYING AS GIRLS”?
How SAFE do you FEEL?
How would you FEEL if this was Your Little Girl?
Dear Highline School Directors, you are presented with an interesting paradox:
- Do you allow for diversity and inclusivity of gender identity at any cost?
- Do you put your female students in harm’s way by allowing boys to enter intimate areas?
- Do you disregard the religious requirements of your Muslim and Christian students, especially surrounding modesty and sexuality? You have nearly 100 different cultures to answer to.
Changes to Title IX, as discussed in previous testimonies, would cause damage to our students.
Fortunately, even if Title IX changes are made, you will still have a choice to protect the students of Highline by implementing policies at your discretion.
Perhaps you can add additional restrooms and locker rooms and label them “OTHER” or “NON-BINARY.”
Otherwise, I anticipate you will need to create many more “safe spaces” for your students at risk of sexual violation in their own bathrooms.
NOTE TO READERS: Please make your voices known on the Title IX issue before the comment period closes on September 12th. CLICK HERE to go to the Federal Register to Submit your comments. Use the big green button.
Include this Docket ID #ED-2021-OCR-0166 at the top of your comments.
Keep your kids safe, Highline!