Indiana school leaders respond to transgender bathroom directive


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – School leaders and parents are praising and criticizing the Obama administration for his directive on transgender students and bathroom use.

Kathy Blazer-Williams said her 12-year-old daughter, Rowan, is transgender.

“Hearing what came out of the White House today, we cried,” Blazer-Williams said. “We sat at the dining room table and a watched a news clip and cried. Rowan said, I get to be a normal girl.”

Blazer-Williams said her daughter is homeschooled. She’s now considering sending Rowan to high school with the other kids.

IPS officials said they’re prepared to comply with the directive. District leaders released a statement saying, in part, “Indianapolis Public Schools believes no student should feel unwelcome on their own campus.”

The Indiana Pastors Alliance released a statement saying, in part, “We are calling on Hoosiers to contact local school boards to encourage them to ignore this outrageous and perverse overreach by the federal government.”

Governor Mike Pence also responded to the directive in a statement.

I have long believed that education is a state and local function. Policies regarding the security and privacy of students in our schools should be in the hands of Hoosier parents and local schools, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature. I am confident that parents, teachers and administrators will continue to resolve these matters without federal mandates and in a manner that reflects the common sense and compassion of our state.

Dr. Steve Phillips is superintendent of Mitchell Community Schools in Southern Indiana. He responded to an email from 24-Hour News 8 asking school leaders how they will respond to the directive.

“How are schools to determine who actually is a transgender and who is not?,” Dr. Phillips said. “Is just a verbal command enough? Sadly, but truthfully, some high school age students may periodically switch genders just to frequent the facilities of the other gender.”

Kit Malone is an Indianapolis transgender woman who said some people have misconceptions about transgender people.

Malone said she’s been threatened for using the men’s restroom.

“We’re not invading your bathroom,” Malone said. “We reach a point in our transition where it’s not safe for us anymore, and we have to make a choice about which restroom we’re going to use.”

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