Metro Weekly

Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ transgender policy under scrutiny

Conservative media trying to fan controversy over video outlining policy on lodging for overnight school trips

Photo: Flinga, via Wikimedia.

Photo: Flinga, via Wikimedia.

A training session on pro-transgender policies for teachers in Anne Arundel County Public Schools has become the latest battleground for those on either side of the argument over respecting the rights of transgender students.

In a video of the training session, Bob Mosier, chief communications officer for Anne Arundel County, brings up the possibility that a transgender female student would stay with other female students on an overnight field trip. But what’s raised even more eyebrows is the idea that, in order to respect students’ privacy, teachers are expected not to reveal information about a student’s transgender status to other parents whose children may end up rooming with that student.

“That’s not the easy answer, it’s the right answer. And in some cases, it’s going to cause issues, because … the private information piece doesn’t allow you to share that with parents of all the other campers. Right? So that’s difficult,” Mosier says during the training, which occurred in June this year. The video was uploaded July 12, but only recently discovered by conservative media outlets.

They have called the video an example of politically correct social engineering gone amok. The Washington Times, referring to transgender females as “boys who say they are female,” was the first to raise the alarm: Schools won’t even tell you if your daughters are sharing hotel rooms with transgender females! Oh, the horror!

The story was quickly picked up by other conservative outlets, including The Blaze, HotAir, Fox News, Newsmax and The New American, all running sensationalistic headlines paraphrasing Mosier’s comments. Rod Dreher, writing at the blog “The American Conservative,” refers to policies like the one in place in Anne Arundel as “gender insanity,” and speculates on why Christian parents aren’t pulling their children from public schools over the introduction of transgender issues.

But the school system says that, even though some might object to parents not being informed of the presence of a transgender child in the classroom or on a field trip, they’re simply trying to protect students’ privacy.

“A student’s gender identity is a confidential matter, so if you have a student who identifies as transgender, the staff that are going to know are the staff that are in the immediate need-to-know circle, and we work with the student and the student’s family to determine that,” Mosier told FOX 5 DC in a statement. As for the underlying policy of refusing to segregate transgender students from their peers, Mosier told The Washington Times that it is meant to ensure all students are being treated fairly and equally. 

“We must support all students, and all means all,” Mosier said in a statement. “All can’t mean ‘all minus this group, or that group.’ When we start doing that, we are segregating children and not fully supporting them.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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