By Guy Page
The girl’s volleyball team of Randolph Union High School has been banned from its locker room pending school investigation of a conflict with a biological male, self-identifying transgender student using the room with the rest of the team. And at least one girl on the team is facing school bullying and harassment charges.
According to WCAX, team member Blake Allen said the transgender student made an inappropriate comment when the team was changing in the locker room. WCAX reports:
[Allen]: “I feel like for stating my opinion — that I don’t want a biological man changing with me — that I should not have harassment charges or bullying charges. They should all be dropped.”
Allen says that the dispute started when the trans student made an inappropriate comment while members of the volleyball team were getting changed. She says her issue is not with having the trans student on the team or at school, but specifically in the locker room. “There are biological boys that go into the girl’s bathroom but never a locker room,” Allen said.
Allen added that the girls were given the option of changing in a single, private stall.
In an email to families, school officials wrote that the school has “plenty of space where students who feel uncomfortable with the laws may change in privacy.”
“They want all the girls who feel uncomfortable — so pretty much 10 girls — to get changed in a single stall bathroom, which would take over 30 minutes. Where if one person got changed separately, it would take a minute, like no extra time,” Allen said.
School officials contacted by Vermont Daily Chronicle this morning refused to provide a copy of the letter sent to parents, or to provide specific comment on the incident. Instead, co-principals Caty Sutton and Lisa Floyd outlined how they handle student harassment:
“Student safety is our District’s highest priority. We always do our best to maintain a supportive learning environment for all of our students. The District has policies and procedures to respond to student harassment based on protected characteristics or other misconduct. We are not able to discuss any specific students because of federal privacy laws. However, when we become aware that there has been a violation of our policies, including harassment of other students, we respond immediately. Where the policies and expectations are violated, we take disciplinary action consistent with the law and reasonably calculated to prevent further misconduct. We also do our best to give victims supportive measures.”
It is not clear from the co-principals’ response which students are the harassed and which are the harrassers.
Allen told WCAX that other players and their parents have expressed concern to school officials, but have been told that under state law, “the transgender student could use whatever locker room they identified with.”
The school officials may have been citing 9 V.S.A. § 4502, the ‘public accommodations’ law: “An owner or operator of a place of public accommodation or an agent or employee of such owner or operator shall not, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of any person, refuse, withhold from, or deny to that person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of the place of public accommodation.”