- WND - http://www.wnd.com -
3rd-graders asked to help classmate in gender change
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 05/10/2008 @ 6:55 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled
A Pennsylvania elementary school has angered parents by giving them one-day’s notice of planned counseling sessions with 100 third-grade students to explain that one of their male classmates would soon begin wearing girls’ clothing and taking a female name and to ask that they accept him as a girl and not make unkind remarks.
The exercise in “social transition” was initiated by the boy’s parents who approached the administration at Chatham Park Elementary School in Haverford Township asking that the school help in having their child’s female identity find acceptance among his peers. After consulting experts on transgender children, the Haverford School District sent letters to parents advising them the school guidance counselor would meet with their children, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.
While some parents contacted the principal asking that their children be excused, others took their anger out online.
“Why is the school introducing this subject to 8- and 9-year-olds?” wrote an angry parent who started a discussion on the Haverford Township’s blog site. “Why were we not notified sooner. We received the letter today, the discussion at school is tomorrow.”
The Haverford Township blog is not currently viewable.
In the letter to parents, Chatham Park principal Daniel Marsella assured parents the counseling would use “developmentally appropriate language” to explain “how we need to help this student make a social transition in school.”
“This is something that was going to come out,” said Mary Beth Lauer, district director of community relations. “Isn’t it better to be proactive, and let people know what is happening and how we’re dealing with it?”
According to Valerie Huff, whose daughter is a friend of the boy, he had started wearing girls’ clothes and an upcoming school event would have made his gender identity public.
“I did not think that the letter needed to go out,” Huff said. “The kids don’t make any big deal about it at all.”
But not so the parents. Postings to the community blog have upset the boy’s parents, the Inquirer reported.
WND reported a pediatric endocrinologist at the renowned Boston Children’s Hospital has launched a new program to drug transgender children to delay puberty so they can decide at a later age whether they want a male or a female body.
The Haverford boy has not received medical treatments to change his sex, but has told others he sees himself a girl.
WND has reported previously on some of the controversies prompted by the belief that a man can be born in a woman’s body, or vice versa, including in Montgomery County, Md., where county officials have adopted a law that precludes those who provide public accommodations from discriminating based on that “gender identity.”
Voters there have petitioned to have a vote on that law because they fear men who “decide” they are female walking into women’s restrooms and locker rooms.
Paul McHugh, a psychiatrist and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was critical of the school’s handing of the issue.
“They do not have a right to stop the child, but it’s different when they gather everyone around and say, ‘Johnnie is Jeanie,” he said.
McHugh, who has studied sexual reassignment surgery for 30 years, particularly in the 1970s when Hopkins was a leader in the field, said society should not support decisions of immature persons.
“People came to us saying that if we changed them, we’d solve all their problems,” he said. “So we changed them, and their problems remained.”
Chatham Park guidance counselor Catherine Mallam said the students she spoke to seemed to be accepting of the boy’s change of identity.
Article printed from WND: http://www.wnd.com
URL to article: http://www.wnd.com/2008/05/63978/
© Copyright 1997-2013. All Rights Reserved. WND.com.