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.”