By Makayla Hallam
The Sheridan Press Via Wyoming News Exchange 

Speakers express concern over transgender bathroom usage at schools


April 14, 2022

SHERIDAN — Public commenters at the Sheridan County School District 2 Board of Trustees meeting Monday brought up concerns with transgender individuals using bathroom facilities at SCSD2.

Currently, SCSD2 “does not have a specific policy pertaining to the use of restroom facilities under these types of situations,” Scott Stults, SCSD2 superintendent, told The Sheridan Press. He added the law concerning these issues are complex and evolving.

Issues concerning transgender individuals using the bathrooms of the gender they identify with has entered the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years. Previous cases like Bostock v. Clayton County, Virginia, has reinforced the U.S. Supreme Court’s stance on Title VII according to as well as upheld Title IX, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance,” according to the U.S. Department of Education website.

In early March, Senate File 51 was passed by the Wyoming Senate but ultimately failed to become law. The bill, also known as the “fairness in women’s sports act” would prohibit “biological males from athletic teams and sports designated for females in public schools” according to the State of Wyoming legislative website. The bill failed for a lack of introduction in the House..

Legislator concerns with the bill were echoed by public commenters Monday.

“Gender identity conflict — otherwise known as gender dysphoria — means that an individual is dissatisfied with their gender. It does not mean they are the gender they wish to be,” said Tara Schultz, the first commenter of the meeting.

Schultz, as well as Andrew Patceg and Brandy Patceg, said it was a moral issue to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. Commenters shared a concern toward biological males using female facilities like locker rooms and bathrooms.

Andrew Patceg said this is an issue that creates a “breeding ground for predators.”

“It is common sense to keep the facilities separated based on biology rather than identity to keep, to protect women and children,” Andrew Patceg said.

Patceg expressed his concern using instances in which men gained access to women’s facilities. In these cases, biological males used it to commit crimes against women and children or violated their privacy, Patceg said.

“Letting biological boys into girls' restrooms is immoral. Women and children have been hurt because of this policy, and I don’t want this happening anywhere and I don’t want them happening here,” Andrew Patceg said.

Concerns persisted over the usage of female bathrooms by biological males.

“It is unfair and wrong for my child or anyone else’s child to feel unsafe or sexually intimidated when someone of the opposite sex is allowed to use the bathroom with them,” Schultz said.

Schultz also proposed transgender students have their own bathrooms.

“Why are we, the majority, being forced to change our feelings and beliefs on the imaginary actions of a few. Giving transgender students their own bathroom provides the safety needed for all,” she said.

Brandy Patceg ended the meeting by saying more people need to speak the truth about the issue.

“No one is speaking truth. I would really like to see that start to happen. I don’t blame the kids, who are confused at this age. Their hormones are raging through their bodies and there’s also all sorts of things going on. It could be at home. I don’t blame them. No one is speaking truth to them,” Brandy Patceg said.

At the end of the public comments, Stults encouraged the commenters to reach out to him about concerns and questions.

“As issues arise with students and families, we work with them directly to understand their concerns. It is always our goal to treat everyone with dignity and work to protect all students. We are making a concerted effort to listen and understand all voices, with a clear goal of keeping our students and staff safe,” Stults said to The Sheridan Press.

This story was published on April 13, 2022.


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