‘If students are allowed to do this, the other kids and their parents have a right to know. It’s their privacy, too…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A Florida middle school is going after a male gym teacher who refused to supervise a gender-confused girl in the boys’ locker room.
Administrators at Chasco Middle School allowed a female student who identifies as a boy to use the boys’ locker room. Robert Oppedisano objected to the decision, arguing that he supervises the locker room and would not feel comfortable if a girl undressed under his watch.
The school told Oppedisano and Stephanie Christensen, the school’s female gym teacher who also objected to the school’s demand, that it would be “discriminatory” to warn students beforehand and ordered Oppedisano to continue supervising the boys’ locker room.
“I told them I have an issue with it,” Christensen told the Tampa Bay Times. “Part of my concern is, if students are allowed to do this, the other kids and their parents have a right to know. It’s their privacy, too.”
District employee relations director Kathy Scalise told the Tampa-Bay Times that the school did not threaten to fire the teachers, but that Oppedisano and Christensen must fulfill their responsibilities to the students.
Oppedisano and Christensen contacted Liberty Counsel to seek protections and advice because they felt their jobs were in jeopardy.
Oppedisano said the school’s attorney told him: “You know this might cost you your job. Your teacher certificate might be taken from you, to where you can no longer teach. Because there’s no policy for a black and white student to be able to change together, the district doesn’t need a policy for a transgender boy to change with the other boys.”
Liberty Counsel said the middle school’s new policy is unauthorized and harmful.
“The Pasco County School Board cannot force a male teacher to directly supervise and observe a girl showering in the open shower for boys,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement. “School administrators have lost their minds. They must protect the rights and privacy of students, teachers, and parents and reject these ludicrous, unauthorized policies and practices.”