Last Monday, I published my position on the proposed Policy 3620 change in regards to New Hanover County middle school students who identify as transgender in athletics. In this earlier post, I laid out three options we have in regards to changes for this policy. Although these paths do exist, I am revising my statement on one of them and adding a fourth option that we, as a board, may wish to seriously consider.
Over the last week, many local community members have reached out to me regarding these three options. They thanked me for publishing my statement because it clarified for them what this proposed policy entails. I received some valuable feedback and was asked important questions that needed to be answered.
Note: of the scores of individuals who reached out in response to my position statement — at the time of this post’s publication — only one board member picked up the phone for a conversation with me about Policy 3620.
After watching NHCS’ official YouTube replay of the NHCS Policy Meeting from January, 23, 2023, along with fielding the plethora of valid concerns and questions posed to me last week, I reached out to Title IX Director Jarelle Lewis for answers. On Saturday, I received a response from the administration. The information provided holds such weight that I am compelled to make this information more available to the public and hone my position on the proposed changes to Policy 3620. (Most of this information can be found at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association website.)
Bottom line, Option 2, the recommended change to Policy 3620 being proposed is a really bad idea.
The proposed language change on 3620, as presented by the Policy Committee, will create a worse situation for our district than what is currently in place.
The issues this language creates include:
- Encouraging middle school students who may identify as transgender (ages 11 through 14) to begin puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, possibly surgery and other irreversible medical issues at an earlier age.
- Creating an expensive bureaucracy towards which the school district (taxpayers) must allocate and maintain district resources.
(Below) The following is a screenshot of the proposed language change (in red) for middle school athletics as recommended by the NHCS policy committee.
The Current Policy Versus the Recommended Policy, AKA “Option 2”
The following are two examples — the existing process and the proposed process — assuming a middle school student who identifies as transgender decides if they’d like to play on the team consistent with that identification.
- (Existing process) If a middle school aged biological male student wants to play on the girls wrestling team, they simply fill out the relevant forms for that sports team and they’re on. That’s it. No questions asked.
- (Proposed process) Under the proposed language from the Policy Committee, which we will refer to as “Option 2,” if that same biological male student seeks to join the girls wrestling team, said student would need to go through the same process, thereby mirroring that which is already in place at the high school level. This process is a burdensome protocol that includes multiple interviews with gender dysphoria physicians, psychiatrists and a “gender-affirming committee” of pre-ordained, assigned, “experts” under the district’s direction.
In the following video, School Board member Stephanie Kraybill raises serious concerns over having the middle school policy “mirror” the existing high school policy. Kraybill calls out the high school review process as “invasive” and inappropriate for students ages 11 through 14 citing that, at that age, they just want to play, be social, and hang out with their friends.
I highly recommend you watch this video (18-minutes) of the Policy Committee meeting.
Answers from New Hanover Schools Administration
If Option 2 is passed, we will be tasked with the formation of a new middle school review committee for athletes who identify as transgender. Therefore, I posed some important baseline questions to the District administration. These are questions, it seems, that no one else has bothered to ask.
How often has the high school Gender Identity Committee (GIC) denied a high schooler from joining their sport of choice?
The percentage of students that have been denied, it turns out, is 0%. In other words, 100% of the students who identify as transgender who sought permissions via the committee protocol and were reviewed by the committee were allowed to play sports on the team consistent with how they identify. This data set reveals that this committee is merely a rubber stamp for students who identify — and play sports — as a transgender. In short, it does nothing to protect children and everything to push through comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) — as state sponsored gender affirming care is part of the CSE arm within the SEL (social emotional learning) framework.
Context: The high school Gender Identity Committee is a component of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) — an independent organization that handles high school athletics across the state — and the committee serves all high schools, state-wide. While there have been no requests yet from the committee by students who identify as transgender in our county, there have been several across the state of North Carolina.
What is the Gender Identity Committee’s composition? Who are they? What are their credentials?
NCHSAA’s Gender Identity Committee is a SECRET COMMITTEE. None of the members’ names are revealed to the public. However, there are a few things we do know. The committee is composed of four individuals: a member of the board of directors, a school administrator, a physician with “gender affirmation” healthcare experience, and a licensed mental health professional having familiarity with the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) standards of care.
What is NOT clear is what the monetary and resource cost is to NHCS tax payers to set up a mirrored committee for middle school students. The district cannot just repurpose the NCHSAA committee because that organization is independent and only addresses the needs of high school students — again, at a statewide level. There is no line-item in the budget for such a committee because none currently exists, however it is possible that setting up and maintaining such a committee could reach well into the tens of thousands of dollars.
What criteria is used by the Committee to determine, approve or disapprove students who identify as transgender?
When a student’s birth certificate gender differs from their “gender identity,” the student must submit a tremendous amount of sensitive information to the NCHSAA along with a filled out “Gender Identity Request Form.” The NCHSAA provides a Gender Identity Student Eligibility Checklist that must be completely filled out for a student’s request to be considered. Information requested on this checklist includes:
- a written statement from the student affirming the consistent gender identity;
- documentation from individuals including, but not limited to, parents, friends and/or teachers, which affirm that the actions, attitudes, and manner demonstrate the student’s consistent gender identification;
- A complete list of all of the student’s prescribed, non-prescribed or over-the-counter, treatments or medications relative to the gender identity of the student; and,
- Written verification from an appropriate health-care professional (e.g., physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, school nurse, etc.) of the student’s consistent gender identification; to include any other social/emotional (…) information from health care professionals who may assist the committee.
NHCS’ Policy Committee recommends, as seen in the video above, that we should mirror the high school-level committee for the sake of “consistency.” If approved by the School Board, this would be an expansion of a consistently bad policy; the high school policy is already bad for high schoolers, but is a HORRIBLE idea for middle schoolers.
I find this checklist to be a shockingly invasive protocol, leveraged by a government entity, that’ll dig deep into the lives of a student and their family. But more importantly, mirroring the high school protocol established by the NCHSAA is without question ill-advised for the middle school age bracket (years 11 through 14). These kids lack the maturity to make irreversible medical decisions that will affect them in perpetuity, thereby creating medical patients for life, and quite possibly resulting in their inability to procreate or enjoy healthy sexual function in adulthood.
Option 2, the recommended policy change for middle schoolers is worse than the current policy
With the data the NHCS Administration provided me over the weekend (presented above), I cannot support the Policy Committee’s proposed language for middle schoolers. NHCS’ current policy, which I do believe needs changing, is safer for students who identify as transgender and does not create the bureaucratic bloat in the school district.
In my January 30th policy statement on 3620, I shared my strong preference for Option 3. This option continues to be my preferred option. However, I cannot and will not vote for Option 2 (the Policy Committee’s recommendation) because it is a worse plan than what already exists. If implemented, this proposed language would further intrude into the private lives of our students and their families, encourage children to become addicted to gender transition prescriptions at an even earlier age, and grow the NHCS Central Office into an even larger bureaucratic behemoth. All of these points run counter to my Conservative Republican values: safe schools, smaller and less intrusive government, and fiscal responsibility. This, in my mind, is allowing the government to run amuck with our children. Voting to grow the public school bureaucracy is not the solution. It is the problem.
Introducing Option 4
If the board cannot muster the votes to pass Option 3, then we should vote for Option 4: sending the motion back to committee to come up with another solution on the language. We should not accept a solution that isn’t really a solution at all given the concerns expressed above.
The following is how I rank the possible options for Policy 3620, from Best to Worst.
- Option 3 (Best): Do not allow biological males to play in girls middle school atheletics, no exceptions.
- Option 4: Send motion back to committee for them to provide a more thoughtful solution.
- Option 1: Keep the existing language.
- Option 2 (worst): Accept the Policy Committee’s recommendation to mirror the High School’s athletic policy.
Tomorrow evening (Tuesday) is the vote, and we need to ensure the rest of the school board does the right thing. Please contact the other board members to let them know that our schools cannot cave to the Far Left radical agenda. You may contact all board members at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We all need to act now!
You know where I stand.