West Allis — As they read select passages from the Bible and espoused their views, a group of conservative activists this week implored West Allis-West Milwaukee school officials to not make accommodations for transgender students and threatened potential legal action in the future.
Robert Braun, a prominent West Allis conservative activist, went on record early this month and said he was going to begin taking the district to task as future policy decisions concerning so-called bathroom bills hang in the balance.
Braun and nearly a half-dozen other supporters attended a West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board meeting Monday, Jan. 23, and used the public comment portion of the agenda to publicly weigh in on the issue.
Although the issue has been discussed, West Allis-West Milwaukee has not made any specific policy decisions concerning transgender students’ accommodations. The issue was not on the board's agenda.
A few transgenders
Superintendent Marty Lexmond last month confirmed the district is hosting a few students who identify as genders different from their biological ones.
With regard to restrooms and locker rooms, Lexmond said the students have used private facilities separate from traditional boys’ and girls’ rooms. The district has not incurred any expenses as a result of the accommodations.
If the district were to start giving transgender students the opportunity to use standard restrooms and locker rooms, Braun said he would be taking swift, decisive action.
“If you do it, I’m going to file a notice of claim and start legal action,” Braun said.
Braun, through the organizations Christian Civil Liberties Union and Stop the Violence, issued a news release in advance of Monday’s board meeting.
“There is no law requiring schools to accommodate the special needs of a few sexually diverse students,” the news release stated. “It is appalling that this is getting any attention whatsoever. We are all born either male or female, period.”
Whitefish Bay resident Diane Frenzick, who attended the meeting with Braun, said she believed the district was doing a disservice to transgender students by making special accommodations.
“Society has gotten so depraved,” Frenzick said. “God doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t make a man to be a woman, and a woman to be a man. We are not helping these young people by fostering this.”
Not all persons speaking to the issue were against making accommodations for transgender youth, however.
Shannon Mishun, who serves on the West Allis-West Milwaukee PTA Council, pointed out the high suicide rate within the LGBT community.
“It really bothers me when I hear people say they believe this is a choice,” Mishun said. “I think we should support these people. These are people who can’t be who they want to be, and they wind up killing themselves.”
The school board was not slated to discuss transgender students’ accommodations at Monday’s meeting. Citing board policy, President Jeffrey Sikich said the elected body would not respond directly to the comments raised at the meeting.
During the discussion last month, Lexmond said the district is attempting to serve the transgender students in as practical a manner as possible without causing any disruption to the entire student body.
Several West Allis-West Milwaukee board members also weighed in on the topic and noted the delicate balancing act at play.