The issue of transgendered children and schools only seems complicated. Again, we watch as this country whips itself into a seeming frenzy over a social issue based on fear, misinformation and an enabling media and political establishment.
Ultimately, though, such fervor comes back to the very local level: our schools, our families and our kids. And that is where it gets very simple. Every child must be given a good education, be given equal and inclusive opportunity, must be treated with the care and respect each of us earns in America on the day we were lucky enough to have been born here.
In his reporting this week, Bob Skolnik covers the local landscape, talking to school administrators and board members at our multiple school districts. For the very most part we see educators working to understand and support all children. Some districts — Lyons Township for instance — are further ahead because they started sooner, recognized the challenge and embraced the simplicity.
“I can say that we’ve always supported and accommodated our transgendered students for years, and we certainly intend to work with their families and our students to create a safe and supportive environment, really, for all the students,” said Tom Cushing, the board president at Lyons Township.
That’s leadership that calms and clarifies, that is strong but not strident.
For many of us, the concept of being transgendered is new and confusing, another gradation, another nuance about sexuality in an area of life that not long ago wrongly seemed clear and predictable. Taking time to learn the language, to discover the transgendered person who is likely out there somewhere in your circle, to actively move toward simple inclusion, is a process and one that most of us have now repeated multiple times in our lives.
Our local schools are doing a good job of modeling the right path.