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A transgender tennis coach has been rehired by a Pennsylvania school district, overruling the objections of a few local parents.
According to Pennlive.com, the Gettysburg Area School Board voted 6-2 on Sept. 5 to rehire Sasha Yates, a male, after previously deadlocking at 3-3. According to the report, Yates had previously received a memo from Gettysburg High School Principal Jeremy Lusk “outlining concerns” about maintaining “professional boundaries.”
The memo may have stemmed from parental concerns that Yates had entered the girl’s locker room and been “talk[ing] to students about undergarment preferences and menstruation.” Yates was also accused of changing in front of underage students, who reportedly said it was clear that despite dressing as a trans woman, Yates was “still fully a man.”
The Gettysburg Times reported that Yates had confirmed changing in the locker room but said it was in a secluded area.
The Times also reported that the school was repeatedly warned of a potential lawsuit stemming from discrimination based on gender identity if a transgender coach was let go. Janet Riggs, chair of the Gettysburg Borough Human Relations Commission, told the board, “You may or may not be aware, but Gettysburg Borough has an anti-discrimination ordinance that specifically addresses such discrimination. Although Gettysburg Area School District reaches beyond the borough, it seems to me you would want your policies and practices to be consistent with that ordinance,” Riggs said.
Transgender Tennis Coach Has Different Account Than Parent
There are conflicting details between what Yates said happened in the locker room, and what a concerned parent described. While it’s unclear which is the accurate sequence of events, the incident is another entry in the debate over teacher behavior in schools.
No matter the gender involved, if the parent’s account is correct, it would represent inappropriate behavior. Regardless of whether the individual is trans or not. But as the threats from the Human Rights Commission show, there’s a concerted effort to couch any potential concern as “transphobia” or discrimination.
Students and parents spoke out in favor of rehiring Yates, who reportedly agreed to use a single occupancy changing room provided for school officials. But the fact that this apparently wasn’t utilized before is concerning.
Young girls, and boys for that matter, should feel safe and secure in their locker rooms, something that swimmer Paula Scanlan, who shared a locker room with transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, spoke forcefully about in testimony before congress.