Letter to the editor: Shaler Area should address gender-neutral restrooms

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Dear Fellow Human:

I am responding to the 8/18/19 article outlining the Shaler Area School District revamping (district-wide). These improvements sound very positive and it does lead me to hope that the school district will also address with the impending school year, the conundrum that the gender neutral/fluid population of students is forced to face.

There are no bathrooms available for their use that do not require exclusive gender classification. Knowing that there are students (and staff) who identify in a myriad of ways and that still — the male and female obligatory selection remains — is unsatisfactory and exclusionary.

As a parent of a trans Shaler 2019 grad, I personally have addressed the issue of the 2019 graduation class robe colors which segregate gender with Dr. (Bryan) O’Black and Superintendent (Sean) Aiken and there was no response. I have asked them to consider every student more sincerely than is being done. If Aiken believes that the improvements happening are “… to create a safe and effective learning environment for all students …” then how is that congruent with a student who must refrain from using a bathroom all day because they do not want to “out” themselves to bullying and victimization. Using a restroom and graduation should not be a time where anyone should feel persecuted.

The Shaler Area School District needs to stop circumventing the student population that lives on the spectrum, i.e., gender/sexuality and intellectual disabilities; because there is often a direct correlation, the district does more harm to this population, their families and the community as a whole. Give these students a middle-ground where bathroom selection is concerned.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Hanulak

Etna