The Sun Prairie School District has now admitted that an incident involving a transgender student in a school locker room violated its “district practices” and “should not have happened,” acknowledging that “it did” occur.
In a vague press release that raised as many questions as it answered, the district also said it had taken steps to “ensure” that the incident does not “recur.”
“What happened in this incident was not in line with our District’s practices,” the district admitted. “We know it is easy to blame schools for events like this when people are outraged. The simple truth is that this incident should not have happened. But it did, and the District addressed it long before the recent publicity.”
The news release came after the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) demanded answers and action from Sun Prairie Area School District (SPASD) after an 18-year-old naked student allegedly exposed his male genitalia to four freshman girls in the school shower at Sun Prairie East High School.
“In early March, four freshman girls at EHS participated in a swim unit as part of their first-hour physical-education class. After the class, the girls entered the shower area in the girls’ locker room with their swimsuits on, which was their common practice as they rinsed off. As they began to shower, a male student, who is 18 years old according to multiple sources, approached them, entered the shower area and announced, ‘I’m trans, by the way.’ The male student then fully undressed and exposed his male genitalia to the four girls in the shower,” WILL wrote.
According to WILL, “following reports to administration and communications from parents, SPASD administrators failed to comply with basic protections afforded by federal law.” WILL alleges that the Sun Prairie Area School District violated Title IX, failed to follow mandatory reporting laws, failed to adequately inform parents, and did not follow its own locker room policy.
Read the news release here: Sun Prairie Schools Press Release 4_22_23
In the same news release, the district also claimed that news reports on the incident were ill-founded, incomplete and inaccurate and then refused to say how, especially in light of the admission that the incident occurred and violated practices.
Some liberal media outlets latched onto the inaccuracy claims and made that the emphasis of their articles, not the district’s admission that practice was violated and the incident occurred.
The Sun Prairie Area School District “has seen various media accounts of the incident that is the subject of a letter from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. While we do not know the source of the information that has been shared about this incident, we need to make one thing clear: several accounts of this incident are ill-informed, inaccurate, and incomplete. While student privacy and other laws prevent the District from addressing the specific events that occurred, we can share the following information,” the district said, again, not offering details to back up its claims, which seem contradictory to other portions of its press release.
We would note that the district did not explain why privacy laws would prevent the district from explaining something that did NOT happen if the district is claiming that certain facts are wrong. The district also did not explain which media accounts it was referring to or whether it considers the WILL letter to be inaccurate as well, or how.
The district noted that “all individuals involved in this incident were students enrolled in the District,” but did not address the allegation in WILL’s letter that the student in question was 18 years old.
The district wrote: “The District addressed this incident after it was brought to the District’s attention” but did not address criticism that its response was delayed or explain how exactly it was addressed or address WILL’s allegations that it did not follow mandatory reporting laws or Title IX policies.
“The District took steps to ensure a similar incident does not recur,” the district wrote, failing to explain why it needed to do so if the reports are supposedly “inaccurate.”
“The District talked with the students and families who were involved who came forward,” the district wrote, failing to address concerns that it did not notify parents in a timely manner.
“The District offered and provided support to the involved students and their families,” the statement says.
Further, the district wrote that the Sun Prairie Area School District “does not condone any student of one sex being present in a state of undress in the presence of students of another sex.” However, the district failed to explain whether someone saying they are transgender but who possessed male genitalia is considered to be a student “of another sex.”
Similarly, the district did not fully explain its statement reading, “The District does not condone a student of one sex showering in the presence of students of another sex.”
The district continued, “Unfortunately, what is playing out in the media is based on assumptions about this incident that are simply untrue.” However, again, the district failed to explain what assumptions it was talking about, making it impossible to assess the district’s claims.
“School districts across the country are striving to protect and support all students. Districts must balance the dual goals of supporting transitioning students while also protecting the privacy interests of all students,” the district wrote. “The Sun Prairie Area School District is committed to doing so in a manner that is grounded in our mission, vision, and equity statement. The District stands in support of all of its students and will continue to ensure that all students’ rights are protected.”
However, the district did not explain the “manner” in which it was doing so.