By Guy Page
Last week, WCAX took the extraordinary step of pulling from its website a late September news story about a transgender student asked by female students to leave a girls’ locker room. In an even more uncommon move, the state’s leading television news organization then announced it would issue a public statement acknowledging the harm caused to transgender youth by the news story.
According to transgender advocacy group Outright Vermont, the statement has aired on the evening news. It was read by station manager Jay Barton.
It wasn’t enough of a mea culpa for Outright Vermont. A statement issued by the group said WCAX “must do better,” because Barton “did not explain WCAX’s own failures.”
No video link of the story was found on the WCAX website during a VDC search this morning. VDC has reached out to news director Roger Garrity for a copy and/or video link of the statement.
The Outright Vermont statement (below) includes a link to a video website that does not appear to connect to the story as indicated:
“WCAX Station Manager Jay Barton went on air last night with a statement (watch here at the 15:13 mark) addressing the removal of their September 28th, 2022 story “Randolph High School investigating gender locker room dispute.” But much like the original story, the statement failed to provide a fully accurate account.
“Barton acknowledged it’s not acceptable to bully teens, and that WCAX removed the story from its website when it was used to further target and bully real people, causing them to fear for their safety.
“Barton did not explain how WCAX’s own failures contributed to the unsafe environment. The story featured baseless claims, unchallenged. WCAX did not include an LGBTQ+ advocate who could provide key context about the challenges of vulnerable teens……
As reported last week by the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, girls on the Randolph Union High School girls volleyball team told WCAX they objected when a clothed biological male teammate watched them undress. School officials responded by investigating them for bullying.
No mainstream media reported on the girls’ concerns, and instead focused on the protests of the transgender student and his mother. Most statewide media did not cover the story at all.
Garrity last week told VDC the news story was factually accurate, and revealed a weakness in state policy regarding transgender students.
For its part, Outright Vermont said the incident sends a message to all Vermont media: “We need our stories to be told, accurately, and with our voices meaningfully represented. Anything else is disastrous. Just ask WCAX.”