By Tiffany Benson |
Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) Board President David Sandoval and Board Members Bill Sorensen and Melissa Ewing have effectively silenced all women and girls on school grounds.
Despite hearing concerns from countless community members, the trio remains calloused and uninterested in resolving the bathroom crisis. Discussions and actions taken during board meetings tell the story of an agenda-driven district that couldn’t care less about the well-being of its students.
Of course, district leadership was always aware that a cross-dressing male student at Liberty High School regularly used girls’ bathrooms for social media photo-ops. By siding with the disturbed teenager, Sandoval, Sorensen, and Ewing lost all sense of moral decency and respect for half of PUSD’s student population.
No one knows exactly when the district started allowing biological males into female spaces. Formal communication was never provided to the public. Thus, parents were forced to wade through rumors and speculation while relying on reports from their children. It’s possible the district concealed this dangerous practice for nefarious purposes.
In December 2022, Executive Director of Education, Christina Lopezlira, received advice from the district’s attorney to inform administrators about “emerging practices for supporting transgender students.” If parents or students object to the new guidelines, Lopezlira wrote that PUSD must “amicably address the competing interests and rights.” By February 2023, Director of Information Systems, Jill Thompson, relayed that the Synergy upgrade included an option to record students’ preferred pronouns.
PUSD’s willingness to hide this information reveals a blatant disregard for the law and a particular disdain for familial bonds. There’s no length the administration won’t go to overthrow parental rights under Arizona’s Revised Statutes. It’s conceivable the district will soon pursue policy guidance on gender transitioning and clinical referrals without parental knowledge or consent.
Before casting her vote on April 27, Hill stated: “I understand we’ve had multiple instances at Liberty High School where a young man has been allowed to enter the girls’ bathrooms based on his claim that he identifies as a female. The fact that the district has allowed these actions to continue unabated—without establishing an accommodation or implementing appropriate consequences—is both irresponsible and unfathomable…”
Rooks followed suit stating that she had listened to multiple concerns from parents and students while district leaders remained silent on the issue. “It’s very disappointing that this has been going on [and] parents were not made aware of it. I think every parent in this district has a right to know what we are doing with their kids…and I think we need to move forward with this policy,” Rooks said.
Ewing justified her opposition, “If you look at our incident reports in [PUSD], and the narrative about assaults in the bathroom, it has not come as the result of a transgender-identified student. There is not a single incident that has happened. And if you look at the nationwide data, that does not show it as well. As board members, we need to be making sure that we are making data-driven decisions.”
It’s unclear whether Ewing was truly unaware or willfully ignorant of the landmark case in Loudoun County, Virginia. In 2021, a male student—who identified as gender fluid and frequently utilized girls’ facilities—sexually assaulted two female students. A grand jury later found district administrators “failed at every juncture” to properly report the violent crimes, and school board members were “deliberately deprived of information” until the second incident occurred.
Sandoval and Ewing maintained that their votes align with Title IX while Sorensen flat out refused to explain his position. During the June 22 board meeting, one parent’s criticisms finally compelled Sorensen to respond, “What I can tell you is that I was convinced that people don’t really want to listen…the end vote is ultimately what mattered.”
Although Sorenson agreed he could have been more transparent during the voting process, he figured that inclusive isn’t a “bad word” and the policy proposed by Rooks and Hill was “too restrictive.”
PUSD is increasingly becoming a dangerous place for children. If the administration can secretly change a student’s pronouns while advocating for shared private spaces, what’s next? Where are the boundaries?
How much control will the majority of the board take from parents and give to the public education system?
For nearly two decades, Tiffany Benson’s creative writing pursuits have surpassed all other interests. When she’s not investigating Kennedy Assassination conspiracy theories, she enjoys journaling and contributing to her blog Bigviewsmallwindow.com. Follow her on Twitter and Truth Social @WritingWoman84.