(The Sentinel) – On a school trip to Costa Rica earlier this month, three female high school students in the Eudora school district were assigned to a two-bed hotel room with a transgender student who is biologically male — meaning one of them would have had to share a bed with the trans student — and school officials refused a request for a room change.
One of the girls objected and told a chaperone she didn’t feel comfortable with the arrangement, but she was told to “deal with it.”
A source speaking with the Sentinel on condition of anonymity said the girl raised the question with the teacher who leads the annual overseas trips via text message and was told the situation would be dealt with.
But instead, the source says the Eudora teacher’s wife told the girls who were upset to “deal with it.”
The girl — according to the source — was devastated, calling her mother in tears and refusing to sleep in the bed, instead sleeping on the floor and in other friends’ rooms.
The Sentinel reached out to Eudora, Kansas, Superintendent of Schools Stu Moeckel about the situation, asking if these events happened as described, what action might be taken regarding the chaperones charged with student safety and if the district would provide a refund.
Moeckel responded via email that he could not comment on an issue regarding an individual student.
“As you are likely aware, we are generally unable to comment on issues pertaining to individually identified students or staff members, as their privacy interests are concerned and federal and/or state law limits disclosure,” Moeckel said.
However, the Sentinel specifically did not ask about a student by name, only if the portrayal of events was accurate.
Moeckel was then asked to provide the specific state or federal statute that prevented him from commenting generically about the situation — without naming names.
“I have no comment at this time.”
No comment, but an apparent policy change
The source told the Sentinel that, as the countdown for the trip neared and parents’ meetings were held, no room assignments were disclosed prior to arrival in Costa Rica, even though school officials should have anticipated resistance by assigning a female student to sleep in the same bed with a biologically-male student.
The source said that going forward, parents and students will be given room assignments 48 hours in advance so that any objections can be heard and adjustments made.
However, the girl in question has not — as of this writing — been given any apology for the school district’s actions or a refund for what was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime.
Gender issues are not going away
Issues such as this are not going away anytime soon. Just this month Governor Laura Kelly vetoed a bill that would have prevented biologically male athletes from competing in girls’ sports. Public schools are pushing rule changes to prevent unfair competition with private schools for state championships, but they don’t seem to be bothered by unfair competition for females.
Additionally, a Geary County teacher won a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed after she was suspended for “violating” a policy that didn’t exist at the time by not referring to a transgender student by their “preferred name and pronouns.”
Moreover, the NEA and ACLU adamantly opposed — and in the case of the ACLU threatened legal action — an Olathe Unified School District policy which would have required parental approval for any changes to name or pronoun.