The surrender of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board to political correctness is complete and absolute. On Tuesday February 17th, 2009, the board voted to include gender identity in its nondiscrimination and harassment policies, after public commentary both supporting and disagreeing with the policy change. On February 3rd, the board previously voted 4-0 to approve the change in its first reading. Read the full story in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Listed by the News-Miner as voting in favor included board president Leslie Hajdukovich, vice-president Wendy Dominque, and board members Sean Rice, Sue Hull, and Kristina Brophy. Voting in opposition were the two military representatives, Col. Michael Fitzgerald of Eielson AFB and Col. Timothy Jones of Fort Wainwright.
In response to the question as to why both sexual orientation and gender identity needed to be separately addressed in the school district's policy, Gayle Pierce, labor relations director for the district, had already explained in the previous board meeting that gender identity refers to a person’s own internal and deeply felt sense of being a man or a woman, which can be different from the gender assigned at birth. In contrast, Pierce defined sexual orientation as an emotional and sexual attraction to another person based on his or her gender.
Cols. Fitzgerald and Jones led the opposition, arguing that the change was redundant. Col. Fitzgerald expressed faith in the district's ability to protect all students regardless of distinctions, while Col. Jones likewise favored general language that is less exclusive and more inclusive. The crux of their opposition is that harassment and bullying are already banned by district policy. Board member Kristina Brophy's response: “My goal is that every student in our district could come to school and not feel invisible because someone recognizes them for who they are,” Brophy said. “It’s really important to give people a voice, and through this policy, we say we value you and we recognize you”. In other words, Brophy was playing the "self-esteem" card rather than the "safety" card.
Opponents of the change were also concerned about the impact upon use of public facilities. Specifically, how would the district accommodate students or visitors who decided that they would feel more "comfortable" using a different bathroom or locker room than normally warranted by their physical gender? The response by proponents was universally ambiguous. All proponents tap-danced around the question and deflected concern by saying that it wasn't about bathrooms, but about "nondiscrimination". Diversity, equality, and nondiscrimination have acquired such a degree of religiosity in our society that any encumbrance or sacrifice in furtherance of these goals is deemed justified regardless of financial or social cost.
The move to include gender identity in the district’s harassment and nondiscrimination policy is a first for the state of Alaska. However, Pierce said there are many governing bodies, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association and International Olympic Committee, as well as school districts across the country, that have made such additions to their own nondiscrimination policies. You can bet your next paycheck the Anchorage School District will now become a prime target for the gender-benders.
Surprisingly, Alaska's two pro-family lobbies remained uncharacteristically silent about this particular issue. Neither the Alaska Family Council nor Eagle Forum Alaska showed any interest in this particular issue or lent their support to those in Fairbanks who believe in traditional values.
Public opinion, as revealed in comments to the News-Miner story, is split between the secular-progressive elite and the grass-roots mainstream community. However, grass-roots opinion is now prevailing. Representative of the elite are these two nauseating comments by Julia McCarthy, who also plugged GLSEN, which promotes homosexuality among our youth:
Julia_McCarthy 2/18/2009, 3:59 a.m.: Congratulations to the School Board and members of our community in this step toward safer space for all students!
I know there's a lot of work to be done to continue to ensure every student has a school experience that is free from harassment. GLSEN has some great Train The Trainer programs to assist professionals in supporting teens and their peers to create bias free zones in their schools. The Center for Prevention of Hate Violence also has excellent workshops around transforming school communities through peer to peer prevention programming.
Julia_McCarthy 2/18/2009, 5:18 a.m.: This language addition doesn't have to do with bathroom use or locker rooms, it has to do with safe(r) space for all children. There are currently transgender students in our schools and I'm pretty sure the "bathroom issue" is being addressed in such a way as to create safe space for all young people.
The "bathroom use issue" is almost always the diverting issue that is brought up to incite fear around anti-discrimination language relating to gender identity — just like "gay panic" is generally the core defense for hate crime perpetrators.
In many schools around the country, trans students use a nurse's bathroom or other unisex bathroom space within the school. This is generally done out of deference to other students comfort.
Don't be diverted from the real issue of dealing with harassment and bias.
But here are comments more reflective of grass-roots opinion among mainstream everyday Alaskans who haven't been indoctrinated in our neo-Marxist universities:
Doug_in_Salcha 2/18/2009, 5:02 a.m.: I'm not sure I understand; does this policy allow boys, girls, adolescents "who feel they were born in the wrong gender" to use the bathrooms they "feel right in using"?
A girl who "thinks" she should have been born a boy uses the boys' restroom because it feels right to "him"? And the reverse, A boy who "thinks" he should have been born a girl uses the girls' restroom because it feels right to "her"? Am I missing something here?
How is this not a violation of the other boys and girls rights of identity and privacy?
JB 2/18/2009, 5:14 a.m.: "You go Girl" I mean person of non descriptive nature you go, you, uh, you.
Please dont take that offensive, it was a joke, dont get me kicked outta school over that! Oh Man! Wait, cant say that either?
Where are my first amendment rights Sir? Not a Sir? My apologies, ma'am.
nosunlight 2/18/2009, 6:46 a.m.: Wow, this will go the same way as getting rid of hazing, it will never happen, and if you can't see it in public, it goes on behind the scenes.
If anyone thinks this won't start splintering more fringe groups wanting "equal" rights, you're openly liberal minds are frozen. What's next, special protection for all those that feel offended by the use of tree materials in school. OOOhh, I am so disturbed to my personal being, deep down inside of me, that these poor trees were used. Now protect me from other tree-haters who think bad of me, AND by the way, I have to have a special restroom and classroom to make me feel better about myself because of the horrors of other people's opinions of me.
The School District needs to be replaced by people that don't treat children like spoiled brats that need to feel good about themselves, and don't understand what "no" means, and the way society views them. This is rediculous, again, as all this was hashed over weeks ago.
This is a disturbing day. Live it up genderbending whatever you are boy/girl restroom sharing thingies.
Let it known, if one of you end up in my daughter's restrooms, as confused as you are, all the foolishness will end, and the School District will have a bigger problem than little kids running around whining about their "rights".
dukit22 2/18/2009, 8:27 a.m.: If it dangles, it's a boy. If it doesn't dangle, it's a girl. The only kind of discrimination they should be making is which locker room or bathroom they should use.
NolaUrels 2/18/2009, 9:45 a.m.: Im glad that there are MORE rules for kids to follow, my kids tell me that they cant even hug their friends in school because it could be construed as harrasment. HOw far is this going to go? Should I start shopping for giant bubbles to send them to school in?
burke 2/18/2009, 12:32 p.m.: If it squats, it is a woman;
If it stands up, it is a man;
If they do both, they should
go see a doctor or a priest.
theopinionatedone 2/18/2009, 1:40 p.m.: Doesn't the school district already have a zero tollerance for bullying policy?
nosunlight 2/18/2009, 1:48 p.m.: Better prepare the confused for the unprotected real world out there..., because society is not going to be as warm and fuzzy as the misguided school board. Send one of these confused children to a large social event, and watch them cry for their mommy/daddy.
And I bet you would just love to have one of these gender confused attention seekers walk into the same restroom with your daughter, huh?
I don't have to pretend this will create problems, it already has. You see, we "nincompoops" haven't forgotten about this, and I stand by my earlier posting this morning. Keep the "confused" out of the mainstreamed.
Maybe we should open a Charter school for all the confused, so they can be confused together. Misery loves company.
Frank_Turney 2/18/2009, 1:59 p.m.: Discrimination? Gender? The use of Bathrooms? What's next$$$?
I can just see the hand writing on the wall,Alaska State Legislation to appropriate $$$$$$$ For Accommodations of new Bathrooms at each schools in your district,And more $$$$ For a Security guards of a certain gender to watchdog for anyone that violates Harassment policy. Where oh Where are we heading? Down a very lonely road of no return? Burk your poem makes better since than the school boards twisted
decision, Sincerely, Frank Turney
NolaUrels 2/18/2009, 2:06 p.m. Suggest removal I dont think Im confused, I just think that adding more regulation to the everyday curriculum isnt necessary. Bullying is bullying. I hope that my kids dont engage in that sort of activity, but whats to say someone isnt bullying them? I have two kids in braces, are we going to make new rules for that? I have a kid that is a little smaller than his peers, are we going to make new rules for that?
I got bullied in school, who didnt? You learn how to analyze the
the revelant from irrevelant. And these kids we are trying to protect, are they all angels? I doubt it. But now they have a shield to hide behind, and the rest are sitting ducks.
The best I can do is instill in my kids that its not ok to bully, and its not ok to watch someone be bullied. And if you are the one being bullied, take Mr. Rogers advice, and turn the other cheek.
Ponderous 2/18/2009, 2:11 p.m.: Thanks school board. Thanks for issuing special policies and protection rights to a select few when current discrimination policies would have been just fine.
You are so worried about being politically correct that you don't realize how absolutely wrong you are in regard to this policy.
Too bad some of these commenters didn't show up at the school board meeting. Kudos to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner for being the only media outlet to cover this issue in a fair, balanced, and comprehensive manner from its inception. Brickbats to KTVF Channel 11 for ignoring the story.