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School says transgender kids can go on overnight trips, parents flip

Would you care if your child were sharing facilities with a transgender pupil during a school trip? It shouldn’t matter, right? Well, a school district has been criticized for protecting the rights of its pupils when it comes to gender identity.

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After releasing a video to educate teachers about transgender pupils, Anne Arundel County Public Schools in Maryland has had to defend its actions to those who don’t feel comfortable with their child sharing restrooms at school and sleeping quarters on overnight field trips with a trans student.

The 42-minute video, which was sent out to all Anne Arundel County schools, explains that trans students are entitled to share facilities with the gender they identify with. However, the school district has a legal obligation to protect the privacy of those students, meaning it’s not permitted to tell other students, or any parents, about a student’s gender identity. Only staff in the “immediate need-to-know circle” are told.

While some parents have been supportive of the move, others have expressed concerns that range from general discomfort to “pedophile possibilities.”

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It’s natural for some people to struggle with the idea of transgender pupils — but only insofar as it’s a new experience and not what they have grown up with. Beyond that, there’s no justification for viewing trans students as a concern. In fact, what’s most concerning is the chance that these students won’t get the support they need because people won’t take the time to open their minds.

According to Anne Arundel County Public Schools, this isn’t even a transgender or sexual orientation issue — it’s simply about implementing a system that provides the best possible support to all children.

This is a good point, but before critics can look at the bigger picture, they need to try to find compassion for the young people in their community who are going through gender identity issues. And consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their own kids can actually learn a great deal about how to open their hearts and be a decent human being from their trans peers.

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