KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Parents share safety concerns with school’s all-gender bathroom

Dec 13, 2023, 5:55 PM | Updated: 10:16 pm

school transgender bathroom...

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

Eastlake High School in Sammamish is installing an all-gender bathroom to address concerns from students who identify as transgender. But not everyone is supportive. Parents who reached out to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH complained the school did little to engage them in the discussion.

Principal Todd Apple told parents in a December 10 email that the school is getting closer to revealing the finalized gender-neutral restroom design. It appears that he also hoped to address privacy and safety concerns. He told parents that, based on the design, there would be “total privacy” inside. A model design shared with the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH as a potential model shows a row of single, enclosed stalls arranged next to a communal row of sinks that’s out in the open. There is space marked “supervision” in the model which, according to a spokesperson, is merely the open hallway where someone can walk by and easily see the area (though not inside the private stalls). Eastlake High School will remove two gendered bathrooms to create this all-gender option.

“All of this is the result of a meeting I had one year ago with parents of transgender students,” Apple told parents. “They explained how their students were thriving in our school … except for our bathrooms. Their students didn’t always feel comfortable in our bathrooms and often waited until they could go home after school or go to Starbucks.”

While Apple met with the parents of transgender students, which represents a very small percentage of the general student population, other parents say they weren’t consulted.

(Photo obtained by The Jason Rantz Show)

What about safety concerns?

One mom, in an email to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, objected to this bathroom decision, arguing it was made in consultation with just a small number of stakeholders. Had the principal bothered to include more voices, this mother says she believes the principal would have heard more objections. And she’s wondering who will take responsibility if anything happens to her sophomore daughter as a result of the new bathrooms.

“I would like to ask the principal, why were majority of the parents not consulted before this decision was made? Please provide the name of the responsible person who can be sued in case misconduct happens with one of our girls. These questions should be answered before and not after the fact. I am not ready to gamble my girl’s life to accommodate someone’s personal issues,” she said.

The mom pointed to a high-profile story from Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia where a female student was raped in a school bathroom by a biological 15-year-old boy wearing a skirt. The suspect was charged and then transferred to another school where he was accused of another sexual assault. The first victim’s father accused the district of trying to cover up the assault to keep their controversial transgender bathroom policy from being debated.

There’s also a question of how the area will be policed if two (or more) students enter a single stall together for behavior that would be frowned upon.

What didn’t go into the decision?

The district calls the bathrooms “everybody restrooms.” And it appears they’ll be installed in every school in the district.

“Only one set of restrooms in each school is being considered for conversion to ‘everybody restrooms’ with the others remaining traditional single-gender restrooms. Students will be able to choose the facility that they prefer,” the spokesperson confirmed to The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The spokesperson explained that neither the project’s timeline nor costs have been determined. She says a district “team began to tour other local schools and public/private buildings to look at different design options for everybody restrooms over the past two years.” But it doesn’t appear to have been any general outreach to the school communities, instead responding to concerns from a small group of transgender-identified students. The meetings seeking feedback are now occurring, though the decision to build them has already been made.

“Currently, principals at our four comprehensive high schools have been meeting with student groups, parents and staff members to talk about the plan for everybody restrooms,” the spokesperson said. “The administration at Eastlake has heard from parents and students (both transgender and cisgender) who have concerns about traditional restroom designs, from a privacy, comfort and safety standpoint.”

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There’s little compromise

Left-wing educators and administrators have left little room for compromise on this issue, insisting that their position has the public’s support. Polls indicate otherwise. They have consistently shown a near-even divide.

Educators also seem disinterested in accommodating the potential needs of the 99% of the campus that does not identify as transgender. Apple said he turned two staff bathrooms into gender-neutral bathrooms to accommodate the transgender students, but they are single-stall bathrooms and are not centrally located. So what? It offers the most privacy, which is apparently what the transgender students apparently asked for.

Disinterest in what everyone else could want is likely why there was no meaningful outreach before this decision was made. In the process, the district and school may have created resentment against transgender students who may be blamed for causing the bathroom change that students and parents may not be comfortable with. It was also a missed opportunity to seek community buy-in. Instead of confirming that this is, in fact, what students and families want, we’re supposed to just assume it is.

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How many people are they accommodating?

Eastlake High School doesn’t explain how many transgender students it has. It’s almost certainly a very small number who legitimately identify as transgender, with more children claiming to be nonbinary to make a political point or because their radical teacher confused them enough about gender that they felt forced to make this decision.

Still, under Washington law, transgender students (or students who pretend to not have a gender) must be offered reasonable accommodations. Why not create single-stall options within the preexisting gendered-bathrooms? It’s likely what most students would find the most comfortable. Not everyone wants to use a bathroom with someone of the opposite sex, regardless of one’s gender identity.

Ironically, the district is also sending an unintended message. By creating these “everybody restroom,” the district and schools are saying a transgender student doesn’t belong in the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity; that the only way they’ll belong is if they make a “gender-neutral” facility.

Listen to The Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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Rantz: Parents share safety concerns with school’s all-gender bathroom