By Corinne Murdock |
Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) is allowing males into girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, overlooking evidence of females harmed by policies allowing gender identity to dictate bathroom usage. Legal counsel for the members advised a need to align with the Biden administration’s interpretation of Title IX, based on recent legal rulings in the Ninth Circuit.
Board members Melissa Ewing, David Sandoval, and Bill Sorensen supported allowing students to use the bathrooms or locker rooms based on their gender identity. Board members Heather Rooks and Rebecca Hill opposed it.
The Biden administration announced in 2021 that it intended to expand Title IX sex-based protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. The Education Department proposed the change to the policy last year; in May, the Biden administration announced that it would publish the final Title IX rule in October.
The rule change received over 390,000 public comments.
The Biden administration’s updated version of Title IX would not only allow gender identity to determine locker room and bathroom access — it would also impact sports team admissions.
In an April meeting, PUSD member Ewing claimed that no problem existed against preventing boys from entering girls’ spaces because no similar crimes have been reported in PUSD schools. Ewing further claimed that national data doesn’t support the belief that female-identifying males present a danger in private female spaces.
“If you look at our incident reports, 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,” said Ewing. “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.”
Last month, Ewing shared a legal opinion from an LGBTQ+ advocacy site which argued that the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title IX protections.
Although Ewing claimed no bathroom assault cases exist due to transgender individuals, there were several high-profile cases over the last few years. Their existence was brought up in a viral video pulled from a recent meeting.
Ben Larrabee, project manager for conservative activist organization Turning Point USA, cited multiple cases in which males identifying as females were alleged to have flashed, sexually assaulted, or raped girls or women after entering female bathrooms or locker rooms.
This included the two teenaged girls sexually assaulted by the same gender-fluid teenage boy at two different schools in Loudoun County, Virginia; the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl by a gender-fluid boy in Decatur, Georgia; and the assault of a teenage girl by a teenage boy identifying as a female.
“Before you say that these are anecdotal evidence, just note that in a survey of trans inmates in federal prisons, half were convicted of sexual assault and 90 percent were convicted of violent crimes: well above the general prison population,” said Larrabee.
Larrabee noted that the perpetrators in the study he cited had all received some form of transgender care or gender identity accommodations.
“You do not affirm that people with anorexia can be healthy in any way, you do not affirm that somebody with schizophrenia is hearing voices, and you do not affirm that somebody in a manic episode is having great ideas,” said Larrabee. “When you leave someone to languish in their false mental state — i.e. men who think they’re women — they will inevitably lash out and harm themselves and those around them. Hurt people hurt other people.”
Board members Rooks and Hill attempted to enact a policy preventing males from entering female bathrooms and locker rooms in April. Ewing, Sandoval, and Sorensen blocked that policy.