A high school in Vermont banned girls on its volleyball team from their own locker room after they expressed discomfort with changing in front of a male who pretends to be a female.
Teen girls on the Randolph Union High School volleyball team said a male student claiming to be transgender reportedly “made an inappropriate comment while members of the volleyball team were getting changed.”
When players and their parents raised concerns about teen girls sharing intimate spaces with someone of the opposite sex, the school told them state law allows for students claiming to be transgender to use whichever bathrooms and locker rooms they desire. The school is also investigating whether the team violated the school’s harassment, hazing, and bullying policy.
“My mom wants me to do this interview to try to make a change,” one of the volleyball girls, Blake Allen, told local news outlet WCAX3. “I feel like for stating my opinion — that I don’t want a biological man changing with me — that I should not have harassment charges or bullying charges. They should all be dropped.”
In addition to threatening punishment for students for speaking up about their discomfort, school administrators claimed that girls who do not want to share their protected space with the opposite sex should go out of their way to “change in privacy.”
“They want all the girls who feel uncomfortable — so pretty much 10 girls — to get changed in a single stall bathroom, which would take over 30 minutes. Where if one person got changed separately, it would take a minute, like no extra time,” Allen said.
In that same email to parents, high school officials said their investigation will primarily focus on allegations that the girls harassed the transgender student even though the school’s harassment policy specifically bars the kind of inappropriate comments the male student allegedly made.
“A hostile environment exists where the harassing conduct is severe, persistent or pervasive so as to deny or limit the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program on the basis of sex,” the sexual harassment section of the school handbook states.
Administrators at Randolph Union High School did not immediately respond to The Federalist’s request for comment. RUHS Co-Principal Caty Sutton told The Federalist post-publication that “Student safety is our District’s highest priority” but also indicated that RUHS officials “are not able to discuss any specific students because of federal privacy laws.”
Updated Sept. 30 at 2:05 p.m. to reflect a response from RUHS.