Daily Video

June 8, 2016

How a Kentucky school is handling transgender bathroom policy

Essential question

How are LGBTQ rights viewed as a civil rights issue?

Atherton High School in Louisville, Kentucky became the first public school in the state to adopt an official policy for transgender students two years ago.

Maddie Dalton, a transgender student at Atherton, said she was a little scared when she first started to question her gender. After coming out, she asked students and teachers to refer to her by female pronouns and that the school allow her to use female bathrooms and locker rooms.

A group of parents, students and community members publicly objected to the school council’s adoption of an official transgender policy and hired an attorney on the grounds of privacy and safety for students.

In May, the Obama administration issued a directive to school districts across the country requiring them to accommodate transgender students and allow them to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity.

“We’re not to compel other people to act differently just because they make someone else feel uncomfortable. That is not what our country is about,” said Atherton High School Principal Thomas Aberli.

Key terms

directive— an official or authoritative instruction

transgender— of or relating a person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the gender assigned at birth

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. What does transgender mean?
  2. Why has the issue of transgender people and bathrooms been in the news lately?
  3. Does your school have a policy about which bathrooms transgender people may use?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why are some community members and students angered by the school’s policy?
  2. Why did the transgender student interviewed state that separate bathrooms for transgender students were not an acceptable option?
  3. Do you believe transgender students have the right to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity? Explain.
  4. Why do you think we’re having this debate now and not at an earlier point in history?
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