District U-46 Attorney Affirms Right of Men Who Pretend to Be Women to Supervise Girls’ Locker Rooms

Written by Laurie Higgins

Everyone should listen to three segments of the most recent school board meeting in the continually controversial District U-46. These segments offer a picture of the type of collision between wisdom and foolishness that should be taking place in every government school right now. The wise and courageous heroes in this collision are school board member Jeanette Ward and community member Ina Silva-Sobolewski. The fools include the relentlessly sanctimonious and indignant Veronica Noland and her ideological ally Melissa Owens as well as appointed board member John Devereux, board president Donna Smith, the district’s chief legal counsel Miguel Rodriguez, and staff attorney Luis Rodriguez (no relation to chief legal counsel).

Ina Silva-Sobolewski

The first profile in courage and wisdom comes courtesy of community member Sobolewski who began the public comments by reading a description of the many responsibilities of faculty members, and then said this (1:02:40):

Besides the tasks listed above, it is expected that teachers take on knowledge of the supposed 63+ genders out there and attend to the personal needs of other teachers as well? Gender along with the notions of gender identity and gender expression are socially constructed categories that were created in the fevered imaginations of ‘gender studies’ activists. There is no basis for them whatsoever in the fields of genetics and neuroscience. It does not mean we do not have compassion for people who have cognitive dissonance with their biology, but our pedagogy must not succumb to the pressures of the latest fad in political correctness.


Here’s the even better news, this remarkable woman who comes from Brazil and speaks English, Portuguese, and Spanish, is running for the U-46 school board in the April 2 election! Find her, encourage her, pray for her, and donate to her campaign. We are all well-served by the public service of good people in any community in Illinois, and she, like Ward (who is up for re-election on April 2), is sacrificing much to step into the lion’s den of U-46.

The board proceeded to summarize proposed changes to school board policy which include adding “gender” (as distinct from biological sex) and “gender identity” to the existing list of conditions for which employees may not be harassed. Harassment is defined in part as “unwelcome… verbal… conduct of a sexual nature.” The remarkable Jeanette Ward was concerned that this ambiguous language could be exploited by “trans”-identifying employees to force colleagues to refer to them by opposite-sex pronouns in violation of their beliefs about lying and reality. Ms. Ward is wise to be concerned.

Ward requested that the language be revised to clarify what kind of speech constitutes “harassment,” in order to protect free speech and bring the policy into alignment with court decisions.  She requested that harassment be defined as verbal or physical conduct that is “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive,” thereby replicating language used in the Supreme Court decision Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which dealt with peer-on-peer harassment. It also mimics the language used in the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 2003 Dear Colleague letter which stated that the “OCR has recognized that the offensiveness of a particular expression, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient basis to establish a hostile environment under the statutes enforced by OCR. In order to establish a hostile environment, harassment must be sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, persistent or pervasive).

Ward said (1:48:30),

I am concerned that the addition of “gender identification” to this policy section… sets teachers up for compelled speech, in violation of the First Amendment. It could be construed to mean that a teacher who refuses to refer to another teacher by the sex they are not is harassing them. So, does “unwelcome… verbal… conduct of a sexual nature” include using grammatically-correct pronouns to refer to a colleague who assumes the identity of someone of the opposite sex? To be clear, I’m asking if district employees are required to use grammatically-incorrect pronouns when referring to colleagues who assume an opposite-sex persona even if such pronouns deny reality and/or their religious convictions about lying and/or the meaning of biological sex.

Hoo boy, that launched Veronica Noland into one of her self-righteous diatribes against Ward, accusing Ward of being politically motivated, of using language deemed “offensive” by the politicized medical community, and of being “tiresome’’—to Noland.

At least as offensive as the ideas Noland expressed was the condescending way she communicated to Ward. Would Noland communicate the same way to community members who share Ward’s views? I would urge everyone to watch her performance. Compare how she expresses her positions with how Ward expresses hers.

Noland said (1:50:56) Ward’s comments were “filled with opinion; with negative stereotypes; with unaccepted terms that the established, accepted medical community does not adhere to; and I just have to reject it. This is, I believe, a political opinion and one that is wasting our time. I’m getting tired as many people are of this constantly attacking these protections of our students.

If I’m not mistaken, much of what takes place in all school board meetings is opinion-expressing, and I’m pretty sure that this statement of Noland’s is “filled with opinion.” One thing I’m not sure about is what “negative stereotypes” Ward used. Maybe someone else can ferret them out of her statement above.

Noland stated three times in the course of the meeting that she’s tired of Ward’s concerns about the board’s promulgation of a leftist political and moral ideology regarding students and employees who pretend to be a sex they aren’t. Does Noland care if Ward is tired of the district’s endless efforts to efface the meaning of biological sex? Doubtful.

Board member Melissa Owens then blathered a bunch of hooey (1:52:05):

We’re obligated under state law to make non-discriminatory employment decisions. So, once a person is hired, it’s our responsibility to provide a workplace that is free of harassment. That’s our responsibility by law. So, if that’s something you want to change, you have to do one of two things: You have to go to the state and get an amendment passed that is directed at the Human Rights Act and terminate non-discrimination rights for transgender persons. That’s one. The other thing that you can do is you’d have to convince the board here to change a handful of policies… so that we can act in a manner that is inconsistent with state law and with the Illinois School Code. Gender identity is a protected class under the Human Rights Act.

So clever in her mockery of Ward, and so ignorant. Setting aside the monumental blunder of including a condition constituted by feelings (i.e., “gender identity”) in the Human Rights Act, did Owens listen to Ward, is she obtuse, or is she cunningly trying to distract her audience from listening to Ward’s warning. Ward said nothing about seeking to create a workplace in which employees are free to harass one another or about seeking to “terminate non-discrimination rights.”

Rather, Ward asked to include language that would make clear what harassment is and, therefore, what it is not. Ward is apparently the only board member who understands that the intent of a policy or law is less important than how the specific language could conceivably be construed.

She’s apparently also the only one who understands that a person who adopts an opposite-sex persona could use the district’s ambiguous harassment language to file a harassment complaint against a colleague for refusing to use incorrect pronouns.

Moreover, there is no state or federal law preventing U-46 from including language from the OCR and U.S. Supreme Court decision inDavis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which is what Ward requested.

Owens continued foolishly pontificating (1:52:55):

I don’t see anything in this policy that mandates the use of pronouns. Address the person by name. I would hazard to guess that every single one of the adults sitting in this room, at some point, has to deal with—at least on occasion—somebody at work that either does something that they find morally objectionable or says something that they find personally repulsive…. [W]e address people by their names. This is treating someone on a basic humanity level…. I would expect people to treat other people with dignity and respect.”

Wow, so much to unpack.

First, there are many contexts in which repeatedly using given names in order to completely avoid pronouns would be awkward and unnatural—do-able but weird and stilted.

Second, while the policy says nothing about pronoun-use, it defines harassment as “unwelcome… verbal… conduct of a sexual nature.” Based on this language, could a male teacher who pretends to be a woman file a harassment claim against a colleague who refuses to refer to him as “her”? Of course, he could.

Third, the most obvious and significant flaw in Owen’s reasoning—another flaw that reveals she didn’t understand Ward’s concerns—is her argument about the need to “deal with” co-workers who engage in behavior others find objectionable. That’s completely irrelevant because Ward’s concern is not with how employees feel about colleagues’ behavior. Her concern is with employees being forced to engage in speech acts they find morally objectionable because their colleagues demand it. Enormous difference.

Fourth, Owens rightly argues that everyone should treat others with dignity and respect. She presumes, however, that there is agreement on what constitutes respectful treatment. Many people believe it is profoundly disrespectful to others to participate in or facilitate a fiction by referring to men as “she” or women as “he.”

Miguel Rodriguez, then seemed to contradict Owens when he stated that it would violate state and federal law if a colleague were to say to a “trans”-identifying person who “has undergone the whole process,” that “‘you’re not who you say you are.’”

Board member Devereux objected to the language Ward proposed, arguing that it creates an “incredibly high hurdle” for employees to o’erleap—so high, in his opinion, that it might dissuade employees from filing complaints, which he views as deeply undesirable. His goal seems to be to make it easy-peasy for employees to file complaints, thereby increasing the likelihood that frivolous or unsubstantiated complaints will be filed.

But the most shocking statement from district attorneys was yet come. Ward asked if a “biologically male teacher who believes he’s a female” could be assigned to supervise the girls’ locker room and if so, would parents be told. First came 20 seconds of dead silence, then some  nervous jibber jabber, and finally Miguel Rodriguez said “Yes.” (2:08:20)

Poor naïve staff attorney Luis Rodriguez, not understanding either the “trans’ ideology or the political implications of his response, said, “I would think that in a scenario where we have a need for male staff with male students… that would obviously be what our administration would be doing.

Rodriguez clearly does not understand that the “trans” ideology demands that everyone conceive of and treat biological men who pretend to be women as if they are in all respects objectively female and vice versa. A biological male who pretends to be a woman would expect to supervise only female students. A biological female who pretends to be a man would expect to supervise only male students. And Rodriguez’ administration “would be doing” whatever “trans” ideologues demand because all that matters to the administration is not being sued. Truth and decency are far down the administration’s list of concerns.

After Miguel Rodriguez answered in the affirmative, CEO Tony Sanders, likely realizing the political sticky wicket into which the district’s chief legal counsel Rodriguez had just plunged the district, jumped in saying nervously, “I don’t see that hypothetical ever happening.”

Yeah, riiight, that’ll never happen. Ten years ago, no one would have foreseen a day when boys would be requesting and getting access to girls’ locker rooms, and no one would have foreseen a day when a male teacher would be disciplined for refusing to supervise a girl in the boys’ locker room, and no one would have foreseen a teacher being fired for refusing to refer to a girl as “he.”

Ward responded rationally:

I think this policy leaves it open because it says, “personnel will be assigned without regard to race, creed, color, gender or gender identification,” which includes allowing… a biologically male person who thinks he’s a female to be in charge of girls in the locker room. And apparently, we’re not going to tell parents.”

In the middle of Ward’s last two sentences, science-denier Noland rudely cut her off (2:09:55) to “object” to Ward’s use of “terms offensive to transgendered persons” and for “telling them that they are biologically one thing or another.” Surprisingly, Noland isn’t woke to the fact that “transgender persons” are one biological sex or the other. Every “trans”-identifying person has a biological sex, knows what it is, and knows it will never change.

Noland evidently isn’t woke either to the fact that offense is in the eye of the beholder. I’m offended by the term “transgender” because it embodies a set of destructive and false assumptions. I’m offended by statements like, “men can have uteruses” and “women can have penises.” I’m offended by the presence of biological males in the private spaces of women. I’m offended by girls and women being forced to compete against biological males in sports. I’m offended by the demand by “progressives” to upend English grammar to serve the delusions of a few. I’m offended by the chemical sterilization and surgical mutilation of minors.

After the second condescending scolding by Noland in which she again criticized Ward’s concerns as being politically-motivated, Ward stated the obvious which is that the entire pro-“trans,” anti-science, doctrinaire dogma that cultural regressives like Noland push is politically motivated. Noland does not stand ideologically outside the leftist political universe like some omniscient, objective goddess. She has embraced and promulgates a leftist social, moral, and political ideology.

The view that restrooms and locker rooms should correspond to subjective, internal feelings about maleness or femaleness rather than biological sex is not a fact. The belief that it’s healthy and good for minors to be affirmed in an ontological delusion is not an objective fact—not even if 60 members of the politicized AAP believe it. Both are arguable assumptions that are, through political mechanisms, being foisted on everyone as if from on high where Noland has perched herself.

Take ACTION: If you would like to help an inspiring school board member, take a drive this Saturday and stop by Jeanette Ward’s fundraiser for her re-election campaign. In addition to helping a courageous woman who endures much to fight for truth and children, you can hear and meet Jeanne Ives and Ina Silva-Sobolewski! It’s this Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at FTX CrossFit, 1010 Geneva Rd. Wheaton, IL.

Listen to this article read by Laurie:

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