Clearing the air about the Menasha High School story

School Board Meeting Oct 27 One parent called to tell me that last night's school board meeting had a "disappointing turnout, and the topic was not discussed," in spite of several area churches encouraging its Menasha congregants to attend.

Another of our listeners, Rachel, reports:

My husband and I went to the Menasha School board meeting last night. What a disappointing night for the Christian community. Where were all of the followers of Christ?! The meeting was held in a very small conference room. It wouldn't have taken more than 20 people to fill every seat… Having a "crowd" of people would have forced to school board to answer questions publicly and make decisions. I find it sickening that not one pastor was in attendance. No one - not an elder or deacon - was even sent from the church. It's time to step up, church.
Menasha High School

I've head several conversations the past few days with Menasha superintendent Chris VanderHeyden, about the non-discrimination policy the school board discussed at its meeting Monday evening:

"We reviewed the recently updated Non-Discrimination Policy 2260 which keeps us in compliance with recent rulings by courts, Office of Civil Rights, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  As we proceed with our regularly scheduled policy updates and revisions, we will take up the issue of procedures and policies that keep us in compliance with our legal obligations and take into consideration the needs of our students and our entire school community.  We will welcome parent and community input on these policies," VanderHeyden says.

This link contains what Menasha School District's revised Non-Descrimination Policy says.

As for our initial story, I know that it raised a lot of questions, and a lot of irritation. The word, "policy" I used when I should have used the word, "decision." There was no official school policy in place affecting transgendered students - a decision was made to accommodate a request.

There are some questions remaining over what was said by the principal to the parent about bathroom use. The official word from the Menasha School District now is that the boy has been using the unisex bathroom in a teacher's lounge, and not the girls' restroom.

I want to address some observances that concern me greatly:

Hatred for those who stand

Yes, hatred. I've personally talked with the parents and the teens who have voiced concerns over this situation, and have watched as vile attacks have come against them. While these folks intended no harm to the individual student, the vitriol toward them and anyone else with concerns is like nothing I've ever seen in my life.

Uniforms over street clothes? Not exactly

The parents were told by school officials and one local television news station that the students in the band changing rooms were merely donning their uniforms over the top of street clothes. No undressing, no embarrassment. As one parent asked: Why then, the need for separate boys' and girls' changing facilities?

The truth is, there is some undressing going on. The students know it. The parents know it. I'm a band parent. I've had a son and a daughter suffer through the stifling hot uniform ordeal. I've volunteered to assign uniforms to students and get them fitted at the beginning of the year. No one wears jeans under the band dress pants. It would be like wearing two pairs of pants! Some students will have shorts; others their underwear. As for hot, nylon uniform jacket, some students wear a tank or tee, others a skimpy cami, and for some girls just a bra. Again, these uniforms are heavy and warm.  But there is still the prevailing belief that parents and students are absolutely nuts for being concerned over such a trivial thing as putting clothes on top of clothes.