Thursday, 04 April 2024 12:38

Transgender Issues Discussed at Saratoga Education Board Meeting

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A permission form given to students at Saratoga Springs High School was criticized by a transgender student for making them feel “unwelcome and unsafe.”

Levi Goodman, a senior, addressed the issue during public comments at the March 28 Board of Education meeting. “When I brought this form home and showed my parents what it said, they were appalled,” Goodman said. “When we pointed out why this form was problematic, we were told it was provided to the teacher by the school and that it was the standard form. I’m not blaming one person. It’s clear that this is a school-wide, possibly district-wide issue that needs to be addressed.”

The permission form was given to students scheduled to travel to New York City for a performance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Students’ parents or guardians were given two boxes to choose from. One box granted permission for the parent or guardian’s student to be roommates with other students whose sex assigned at birth is different than the student’s assigned sex at birth. The second box specifically does not grant such permission.

“It seems to me that this form is a clear violation of privacy, both medical and personal,” Goodman said. “I also feel as though this form feeds into the false belief that transgender individuals are predatory, and therefore other students need to be protected from them, which leads me to ask the board, who are you really protecting and who is left vulnerable? As a nonbinary, transgender student, reading the sheet made me feel unwelcome and unsafe.” Goodman said that the school should create a new form and put it into use as soon as possible.

Natalya Lakhtakia, vice president of the board, said that the district should be “taking proactive measures to protect trans folks, especially trans students who deserve to thrive in our school environment.” 

Anjeanette Emeka, a board trustee, said that “inclusiveness is what we’ve been talking about for years, and I appreciate students that come out to express these things and open our eyes when we miss them.”

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