Utah’s top education officials condemn transgender bathrooms as ‘psychologically abusive,’ join with parents at local school board meeting

A Utah school district meeting was a hub for controversy when concerned parents and state officials joined forces to protest a transgender student using the girls’ bathroom.

Last month, Rob…

A Utah school district meeting was a hub for controversy when concerned parents and state officials joined forces to protest a transgender student using the girls’ bathroom.

Last month, Rob Sivulka, whose daughter attends Fox Hollow Elementary in the Jordan School District (JSD), became aware of a boy identifying as a girl and purportedly using the girls’ restroom.

“I went in to talk to Principal Amy Adams on Monday,” Sivulka said in an email obtained by the Lion, originally sent to fellow district parents. “She told me there is nothing legally that she can do to stop this boy from using the girls’ bathrooms, but as an accommodation, she is allowing girls who are uncomfortable sharing the bathroom with him to use the office bathrooms. Amy claims she is prohibited due to Title IX.”

Parents aren’t the only ones concerned.  

The public comments at the JSD School Board’s Tuesday meeting began with two Utah State Board of Education (USBE) members discussing their concerns, as well. 

“Title IX was created to protect girls and give them equal opportunities, but there are efforts underway to create a radical new interpretation of Title IX that is already undoing the physical protections put in place for biological girls,” USBE member Natalie Cline said. 

She accused Fox Hollow Elementary of choosing “to prioritize and cave to these new radical interpretations of Title IX over state law and above the safety of our daughters.”   

The school’s policy “forces girls who are not comfortable sharing their bathroom with the boys to feel like they are somehow guilty for feeling this way” and it is “psychologically abusive,” Cline added. 

Another USBE member, Christina Boggess, also discussed potential policy solutions. 

“The board and personnel cannot hide behind the federal government’s proposed rules,” Boggess said. “They must lead and make their own decisions based on objective facts, settled law, and the voice of the people.”  

Among parents who spoke was a mother who says her daughter was assaulted by a boy in elementary school and now worries about being in high school classes with her attacker. The parent said if her daughter been assaulted in a bathroom, she likely wouldn’t have been saved.

Another parent also spoke in favor of the bathroom policy, along with his child, who has apparently transitioned from a boy to a girl.

“It has nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with being woke, it has nothing to do with any of this weird stuff,” the father said. “It’s just, she wants to go to the school, and she looks like this, and she goes into the boys’ restroom, she’s not accepted there. She goes into the girls’ restroom, she’s not accepted there.”

The father said it is “so silly that more people are willing to call their car a woman than a child that is just asking to be accepted as a girl.”  

Nevertheless, USBE member Cline said Utah law requires children be separated by biological sex in bathrooms.

Sivulka agrees.

“Simply claiming to identify as girls doesn’t entail that they are girls. Fox Hollow favors a subjective claim rather than objective, scientific fact. This is an educational institution which should be promoting science,” the father told The Lion.

While he doesn’t think transgender students are more likely to assault their peers, the safety concerns of parents must be accounted for. 

“I’m just claiming that by favoring a subjective pass, Fox Hollow is opening themselves up to those who may pose as girls in order to harm girls.”

In Virginia’s Loudoun County School District in 2021, a boy wearing a skirt sexually assaulted a girl in the women’s bathroom, launching an ongoing nationwide scandal.