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Published On: Fri, Aug 26th, 2016

Maryland explains trangender policy allowing opposite sexes in locker rooms, share rooms on field trips without parental notification

A Maryland school district will allow members of one biological sex to sleep in the bedrooms of the opposite sex during school activities and will do so without informing the parents in advance. Staff of Anne Arundel Public Schools were trained on the new policy in a 44-minute video called “Supporting transgender students in school.”

School district spokesman Bob Mosier told educators: “So, many of you might be asking yourselves, ‘So I’m at an overnight field trip, and I have student who’s biologically a male, identifies as a female, and we’ve worked with that student and [his] family, and that student wants to sleep in the dorms, or whatever sleeping arrangements are, with the females. They don’t want to sleep in a room by themselves; they want to sleep with the rest of the females. So what do we do?…

photo Marcus Werthmann

photo Marcus Werthmann

“And the answer is, they sleep with the females. That’s not the easy answer; it’s the right answer. And in some cases, it’s going to cause issues, because … the private information piece doesn’t allow you to share that with parents of all of the other campers. Right? So, that’s difficult.”

When pressed about parental notification while speaking with Fox 5, Mosier that that the only people informed about a male spending the night in a female’s room are those “in the immediate need-to-know circle, and we work with the student and the student’s family to determine that.”

The policy applies, not just to overnight trips, but to prolonged stays away from home. “It applies at summer camps,” says Laurie Pritchard, director of legal services for the school district.

The policy adopted by the school district, one of the nation’s 50 largest with more than 80,000 students, was drawn up prior to President Obama’s federal guidance to public schools on transgender issues.

Concerned parents and students ave said that this policy could open the door to sexual abuse or peeping, and at least one prominent commentator has said it should trigger an “exodus from public schooling.”

Lucia Martin, coordinator of school counseling, told participants in the June training that, “of all the things that worried that students that I talked to” at a previous meeting “that was the one they were most worried about. I just said, ‘Can you imagine some teenage boy,” she asked, “subjecting himself to the ridicule of his friends just to be able to go in the girls locker room?’”
“Same thing with field trips,” she said at another point in the video.

An unidentified female participant responded, “I don’t know. They could think it’s a really cool trick.”

“You may be right,” Martin replied.

“I have a teenager – not that he would do that,” the participant added.

An elementary school teacher pushed back on the notion that no one would abuse the new guidelines. Pritchard responded the district would handle the issue “on a case-by-case basis.”

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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