In a news report on Tuesday, KCRA of Sacramento, CA, tells of parents who have pulled their children out of the music class of a transgender teacher. Outraged, the parents claim their right to know has been violated. On the opposite side of the argument, the school stands behind the privacy rights of the teacher as well as HIPAA restrictions prohibiting them from disclosing such information.
Surely, these elementary school students will not soon forget that “Miss” Music Teacher became “Mr” Music Teacher, but other than that, what are the parents afraid of? How has this change affected the teacher’s ability to teach? Are the children at any greater risk because of the change?
I would argue “No” to this last question. The transgender reassignment of a teacher has no more relevancy to what happens in the classroom than does the illicit affair, tempestuous divorce, or trip to Vegas another teacher might engage in. The sad thing is that many of those activities and thoughts are hidden from public scrutiny, but a change from “Miss” to “Mr” is unmistakably visible and public.
Still, the parents have over-reacted to this matter. It’s also possible that the school handled matters in less-than-a-favorable manner. There may have been ways to make the transition less visible—a change to a new classroom, or perhaps to another school in the district, or even a paid-leave for the remainder of the school year so that there would be a fresh start with the next class.
In any case, my contention with the State of California has as much to do with the shallowness of such parents as it does with the litigious nature of the residents. No doubt, there will be new legislation proposed sometime in the near future to deal with such cases. And undoubtedly, it may be the parents who come out on the short end of that stick—facing fines if they move their children.
Who knows? It could happen… only in California!