Harford Schools say yes to gender affirming locker rooms and bathrooms, citing 2015 guidance from the State
Mixed sex locker rooms and bathrooms in schools are now statewide policy
In 2015, the Maryland State Department of Education released a new set of “guidelines” showing local school systems how to manage transgender students in a way that is affirming and non-discriminatory. Things like using the right pronouns, not sorting by boys and girls, and even allowing students to use the locker rooms and bathrooms that align with their gender identity instead of their biological sex.
The “guidelines” went largely unnoticed seven years ago when they were released, at least in part because the local media appears to have written little on the subject. These were just “guidelines” after all, mere recommendations, not codified law or mandatory policy to report on, but rather a set of friendly and optional suggestions. And really, even as recently as then, there just weren’t many trans kids in schools to force-test against the guidelines in a live educational setting were they actually implemented.
How quickly times change. The trans youth population has doubled nationwide in just the last five years according to one think tank study published in June. And the number of students identifying and reporting as gender non-conforming in Montgomery County, one of the largest school districts in the entire country, is up a startling 582% in only two years time, per a tweet from one of the county’s educators that The Daily Caller picked up and reported on.
Then just a couple weeks ago, in still conservative Harford County, the local school board confirmed publicly and officially that, yes, boys are in fact allowed in girls locker rooms and bathrooms if they say they are transgender, and vice-versa — because that is what the state’s guidelines call for.
Revealing that these little known guidelines had been backdoor implemented as acting policy in schools, was Republican State Senator and presumptive Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly, who spoke with a student who was “compelled” by Harford County Public Schools to “disrobe” in front of another student of the opposite sex while changing for gym class in the locker room, causing “embarrassment” and “mental anguish”.
Cassilly said that making school children change in front of the opposite sex is “nothing short of cruel”. But Rachel Gauthier, Harford’s school board president, calls it following state guidance so that her school system can offer respect and comfort to all students and to ensure non-discrimination:
“Harford County Public Schools follows Maryland State Department of Education guidance regarding issues of gender identity. Importantly, the guidelines seek to not only ensure non-discrimination relating to a transgender or gender-nonconforming student, but they seek to offer respect, safety and comfort for all students in these sensitive situations.”
The guidelines, which were compiled into a document called — Providing Safe Spaces for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Youth — are indeed crystal clear on the subject of who can use what locker rooms and bathrooms. Part of creating an “equitable school environment”, they say, means giving students “access to the locker rooms” and “restrooms” that correspond to their “gender identity”:
All of this is, of course, part of the Maryland State Department of Education’s dedication to “preparing world class students”, as it says on the document’s title page. Then on the about page, is a named list of all those bureaucrats responsible for the guidelines therein, including the State School Superintendent, the President of the State Department of Education, and various Program Managers with things like “student support” in their job title.
But the third name on the about page, an individual who must have at the very least been aware of the guidelines and signed off on them to the extent that his name is listed so prominently before them, is Governor Larry Hogan, the peace time Republican who lost his way when the culture wars came.
Otherwise earning an acknowledgement for helping shape the guidelines was PFLAG, a national LGBTQ+ advocacy organization whose Carroll County chapter has hosted drag queen shows for adults while also distributing pride flags in county schools, the latter of which prompted Carroll’s conservative board of education to implement the now notorious Flag Neutrality Policy.
As for Cassilly, after initially speaking out against the gender affirming locker room situation, he went on WBAL radio with C4 and Bryan Nehman to continue his crusade, criticizing Harford’s school board for leaving parents in the dark while such an obviously divisive policy was put in place. And host C4, widely recognized as a moderate Democrat with a conservative sympathy or two, questioned how such a statewide policy could be enacted to begin with without first being worked through Maryland’s legislature, the General Assembly.
But C4 should know better. This is precisely the way so many “progressive” policies get enacted nowadays, whether it be masking or vaxxing or critical race theorizing or gender switch validating — not through legislatures comprised of representatives duly elected by voters, but by Federal and State agencies chocked full entrenched functionaries whose posts are gotten more often through virtue signaling and insider connections than sweat and votes.
As it is today, and probably has been for some time now, the official policy on gender mixing bathrooms and locker rooms across the State of Maryland is anything goes, so long as one declares themself as a member of that newest and chiquest protected class.
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