Appeals to the Atherton SBDM council fail


Peter Champelli

Atherton High School’s Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) council denied any changes to the policy formed on June 5th regarding unisex bathrooms at the school after hearing appeals against the policy in a meeting today.

The attendees appealing to the SBDM council included parent Phil Arnold, attorney Clinton Elliot, and two Atherton students. Each individual had three minutes to make their statements; after the statements and additional evidence and facts were given, the council made their final decision as whether or not to change the policy.

“There are two sides of the same problem,” the first student to appeal said. “On my side, I am a female who is uncomfortable with using the restroom with a physically male student. And on the other side there is a female uncomfortable using the restroom with a physically male student. So why are we being treated differently?”

While discussing the issue, many of the appealers and council members brought up safety.

“I do not want to restrict peoples’ rights, but I also do not want those rights to impinge on others’ safety. It is unwise to allow hormonally exploratory boys access to girls’ restrooms,” Arnold said.

During the discussion, Principal Thomas Aberli contended that the safety of others would not be at risk in this situation.

“It is highly improbable that a male will pretend to be a female for an extended period of time in order to be granted access to female facilities,” Principal Aberli said. “I cannot discriminate on any student based on the potential of what they can do.”

Despite the concerns, the policy formed prior to the meeting stood on the basis that the safety of others’ was not likely to be risked and that it was simply unfair to transgender students. As one member of the SBDM council said, “We do not always need to think ‘utilitarianly.’ Everybody is thinking, ‘What is the best outcome for the most amount of people?’ But sometimes, it is just about one student.”