Peoria School Board Overlooks Evidence Of Trans Violence To Align With Biden Policy

Peoria School Board Overlooks Evidence Of Trans Violence To Align With Biden Policy

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. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Peoria Parents File Complaint Against School District for Attempting to Hide Curriculum, Ignore Opt-Out Requests

Peoria Parents File Complaint Against School District for Attempting to Hide Curriculum, Ignore Opt-Out Requests

By Corinne Murdock |

The mother and father of a middle school student, Amy and Shawn Souza, filed a statement of allegations against Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) with the Arizona State Board of Education for attempting to hide reportedly politicized curriculum from them and ignoring their opt-out requests. According to emails shared with AZ Free News, PUSD Director of Social Studies Curriculum and Instructional Specialist Jennifer Mundy suggested that the teacher and school in question, 7th grade social studies teacher Holli Trentowski at Sunset Heights Elementary, disguise or manipulate the curriculum on its face so that inquisitive parents like them wouldn’t look too closely. Mundy deferred to Marla Woolsey, the district’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, for final say on the matter.

“[Trentowski’s] titles could be toned down a bit. For example, instead of saying ‘Science behind mob mentality,’ she could say ‘The science behind the KKK’s behavior’ or just put Tuesday’s title on Wednesday as well. I’m assuming that she’s teaching about the Ku Klux Klan on Tuesday and following that up with how it’s possible that people could commit the atrocities they did toward African Americans in the South during Reconstruction (and for a century and a few decades afterwards). If kids are thinking, they’ll [sic] on there [sic] own to take it to what happened this past summer as well as what happened at the Capitol a few weeks ago. Analyzing connections and explaining the multiple causes and effects of events past and present are both standards in social studies. The problem does not lie in what Holli is teaching (assuming I’m correct about the path she’s taking this week).”

According to the Souzas’ complaint, PUSD officials attempted to pull a workaround as soon as the Souzas first began to communicate concerns with them about their daughter’s 7th-grade social studies curriculum. Sunset Heights Elementary Principal Rae Conelley even complained about having to meet with the Souzas to discuss their concerns frequently: she stated that she was “going to lose [her] mind.” Conelley also speculated to Mundy and Woolsey that Trentowski was “baiting” the Souzas with her curriculum. “I am going to lose my mind,” wrote Conelley. “If I am off track in my guidance to [Trentowski] please let me know. I almost feel like she’s baiting them now but I’m the one who’s spending time I don’t have meeting with them.”

The Souzas asserted that Trentowski’s curriculum was “developmentally inappropriate and inherently political.” For a section on work conditions in the early 20th century, one of the assigned resources was a graphic, hour-long documentary by PBS on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The 1911 tragedy claimed nearly 150 lives, most of whom were young women and girls.

Despite Trentowski promising to give the Souzas’ daughter an alternative text and place to work, she reportedly gave her the disputed assignment and had her complete it.

The entire ordeal caused the Souzas to remove their children from PUSD. Last week, the Souzas appeared before the PUSD governing board to warn parents and confront the board members about their experience. “We hear all the time at these meetings and from district employees that if you don’t like [the curriculum] opt them out,” said Amy. “We have lost all faith in [the] Peoria Unified School District having the best interest of our kids at heart.”

Free to Learn – a nonprofit organization that advocates for parental rights in education and the removal of political agendas from schools – assisted the Souzas in filing their complaint. In a statement, President Alleigh Marré said that the Souzas’ action should empower other parents.

“By shining a light on this incident with their complaint, Amy and Shawn are setting an example for other parents in Arizona and around the country as they pursue a quality education for their children free of activism,” said Marré. “If parents work within the parameters of the school and follow all the rules, they should see results. Instead, what we saw in Peoria was deceit and an intentional push to keep parents in the dark. At Free to Learn, we want to empower these parents and give them a platform to advocate for their children when all else fails.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to