Should girls who attend the Great Valley School District (GVSD) be forced to share bathrooms with boys who identify as girls? That is the district’s policy, and parents tell Delaware Valley Journal that they are outraged by it.
Hillary Schmid, whose daughter attends middle school in the district, emailed Superintendent Daniel Goffredo Ed.D. about the policy. She received a reply confirming students in kindergarten through high school “are allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to the gender identity they consistently assert at school.”
“I am disgusted by it,” said Schmid, who said she planned to attend a board workshop meeting at Great Valley High School on Sept. 12 to speak out. “It’s about the safety of all children, not just mine.”
Meanwhile, at least one school is adding urinals to the girls’ bathrooms in Montgomery County.
Rae Hofkin, an Upper Perkiomen School Board member, speaking as herself, not a member, told DVJournal the district’s new middle school includes a urinal in the ladies’ room. And it was not a mistake.
“The new middle school construction was completed about three years ago,” Hofkin said. “When it was in the planning stages, the blueprints showed the urinals in the ladies’ room. A parent asked about the ‘mistake’ and was told it wasn’t a mistake that for the school to qualify for LEED gold standards, it was required to have urinals in the girls’ room.
“It was an Obama administration requirement. Then the superintendent at the time (Dr. Alexis McGloin) stated that the paraeducators who work with special education (students) could assist male students with bathroom duties as most paraeducators are female. At that point, the parents weren’t as awake as they are now.”
According to Peter N. Kirsanow of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, the Biden administration is following the same pattern. Under proposed Department of Education rules, K–12 schools accepting federal funds would be required to affirm a child’s gender identity regardless of biological sex, without requiring the approval of or notification to the child’s parents. And bathroom and shower facilities could not segregate children by biological sex.
Concerned parents say the potential problems are obvious. Schmid cites Louden County, Va., where a transgender student was convicted of raping a girl in a girls’ restroom at her school. The school in question had a similar policy to GVSD’s. The assailant pled no contest to a second sexual assault of a different girl in another girls’ restroom at another school. It was eventually discovered the school superintendent knew about the original sexual assault and attempted to cover it up.
In an email to Goffredo and the GVSD school board, Schmid said, “The entire policy is nonsense. The students questioning his/her gender have not developed intellectually or emotionally to make such a life-changing decision. Is trigonometry taught to third graders….No, because it’s not developmentally appropriate.
“Are first graders expected to learn to reason through problems even in the absence of concrete events or examples? No, because they do not have the intellectual capability yet. The average age a female brain develops is 21 years old; the male brain at 25 years old. So what makes you think this Transgender Policy is applicable to children 5- 18 years old? This is developmentally incorrect and morally wrong.”
Schmid told DVJournal she could not believe the district was focused on this when so many students are behind in math and reading because of the pandemic school shutdowns.
“I am so frustrated by this district,” said Schmid. “It’s a social indoctrination school district just like so many public schools.
Wendy Hunt, another parent, said she is concerned about her 9-year-old daughter attending Sugartown Elementary School. She suggested the girl, who is worried about boys going into the girls’ restroom with her, take a friend along. But Principal Kyle Hammond nixed that idea because it could affect another child’s academic progress, she said. He suggested that her daughter use a single-person restroom in the nurse’s office.
But Hunt she said believed the transgender students should use that bathroom, not her daughter. She thinks the district is discriminating against her child.
“Her privacy doesn’t matter?” she asked. “They are discriminating against her for one or two individuals.”
When she told Hammond she wanted to keep her daughter safe, he responded, “All school policies protect all students.”
“I am disappointed and do not know what to do,” said Hunt, who noted that the school board walks out on parents when they say things it does not like. She may sign her daughter up for karate to protect herself in the school restrooms.
Previously, the DVJournal reported that a whistleblower teacher said GVSD permits children to use different names and pronouns at school while keeping it secret from their parents.
“This policy is a continuation of the immoral actions of the Great Valley School District, said Bruce Chambers, a former school board president. “They have held secret meetings with middle school students who allegedly expressed gender non-conforming behavior. Parents were not told about the meetings. The counselors then send instructions to the teachers, instructing them to not tell the parents about the name and pronoun changes. So, they lie and deceive the parents, and they direct teachers to do the same.
“I met with the superintendent about this issue around March of this year. I asked him for the legal justification for lying and hiding information from parents. He could not answer my question, which was shocking. I asked for a legal brief to justify it. He promised to send it to me. Despite several reminders, he has not sent me anything. He lied to me. I then asked the board for the information, but they also have sent me nothing,” said Chambers.
“As the parent’s email states, the school board pledges to provide an environment that is conducive to learning where people feel safe and secure. This policy does just the opposite, and the district’s lies and deceit in dealing with parents and taxpayers is a continuation of their overall immoral behavior,” he said.
David Barratt, the current school board president, did not respond to a request for comment before the meeting.
Several parents and residents spoke out at the meeting against permitting transgender students to use the same bathrooms as girls, but others were okay with that policy.
Wayne Dunlap told the board that the policy makes students less safe and mentioned the Loudon County incidents. Dunlap told the board that students exhibiting transgender behavior could suffer from mental illnesses.
“Allowing a minority of transgender students to use whatever bathroom they prefer makes the majority unsafe,” he said. “If you think it’s that needs to be done, I suggest you either build separate bathrooms for transgender students or allow them to use the staff or teachers’ facility. Your job is to protect the children. And I can tell you right now, if something happens to one of those children, you are singularly responsible, as individuals and school board members.”
Chambers pointed to the earlier version of this DVJournal article and said he would send the board links to it.
“By allowing this to happen you are opening up your kids to danger,” Chambers said. “They are not safe and secure.”
One woman said reports of the Virginia case in “conservative” media caused “hysteria” and that the boy involved was not transgender.
Mother Fenicia Redman, who is suing the district over obscene books in the school libraries, read from a judge’s 2004 opinion in Doe v Boyertown Area School District that mentioned Goffredo, who had been a principal there after four students alleged a male ROTC teacher sexually harassed them. Those allegations were not reported to the state Child abuse hotline or the Navy. And the “alleged investigation was a sham,” she said, quoting the judge.
She questioned Goffredo’s judgment and said he ‘is unfit to be superintendent.”
Barratt responded to her remarks, saying, “The board wholeheartedly supports our superintendent. We supported him when we hired him, and we continue to support him.”