Actual Equality for Students* at CCAHS

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My name is Adrian James Sandersfeld and I am a recent graduate from Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin, Iowa. In my years as a student at CCAHS, I have witnessed transphobic acts committed by teachers, administrators, and students including kicking nonbinary and transgender students out of the restrooms that align with their gender identity. According to the Clear Creek Amana School District's webpage, the school is supposed to comply with Iowa law protecting transgender and nonbinary students. They have not done this. I could not articulate my anger and frustration towards CCAHS' actively transphobic environment until now, when I have already left the school as a student. Personally knowing of several (more than five) intersex, transgender, and/or nonbinary students, I fear for their safety at Clear Creek Amana High School until a change is made in the way the school's administrators, teachers, and counselors 'deal with' the issues regarding the safety of its students.

In March (of 2015), a faculty member personally kicked a transgender male student out of the men's restroom in the high school building. The physical education teacher, Steve Ottoson, made transphobic remarks about a transgender student after splitting his class into gender-discriminate groups (male and female), expecting no one in his P.E. class to be transgender or nonbinary. The assistant principal, Mike Potter, misgenders transgender and nonbinary students regardless of being confronted on the issue at hand, which is to accommodate transgender students instead of suppressing their needs in order to maintain the convenience of cisgender students. The only way this problem can be solved is by showing support for transgender, intersex, and nonbinary students through accurate health education and rules that actually comply with Iowa law and the school's own notice of nondiscrimination, which it does not even comply to.

  1. Students who use restrooms (including gender neutral staff restrooms) that align with their gender identity should not be subject to any punishment, as this is not compliant with Iowa law nor CCA's notice of nondiscrimination.
  2. Gender neutral staff restrooms should be available to students. Cisgender teachers at CCA have no need for a gender neutral restroom. Clear Creek Amana High School needs to start accommodating transgender and nonbinary students further than recommending the nurse's restroom, on the first floor and across the school from a majority of the high school's classrooms, to transgender and nonbinary students. I was personally told, on September 12th, 2014, by Mike Potter, that he, "could write a pass" for me so that I would not be penalized for using a restroom that aligns with my gender identity, even though there are gender neutral staff restrooms on both floors. The school administrators admitting that they prefer trans and nonbinary students to inconvenience themselves and their schoolwork so that they do not inconvenience cisgender students is exactly why CCAHS is a transphobic and transmisogynistic environment.
  3. Physical education needs to cease separating classes into 'boy' and 'girl' groups, as there are intersex, transgender, and nonbinary students who attend Clear Creek Amana High School. Gendering students in a binary fashion makes students feel unsafe in the presence of their peers and teachers. Using the excuse, "this stuff is new to us" (Mike Potter) is stale and inaccurate, as a simple search or interview could be conducted in order to learn more about transgender, intersex, and nonbinary students and how not to infringe their rights for the sake of the convenience and comfort of cisgender students. Accommodations for transgender, nonbinary, and intersex students at Clear Creek Amana need to be made in order to improve the safety of students at CCAHS.
  4. Teachers, counselors, and administrators need to be educated on gender identity and intersex persons if a change is to be made. I propose a short presentation to be shown to all teachers at least once per school year in order to remind them that, in their classrooms, there are intersex, transgender, and nonbinary students who require accommodations that include the use of their preferred pronouns and the use of their preferred name(s), as it can make transgender, intersex, and nonbinary students feel less threatened by and more safe in their learning environment. Teachers should allow students to inform them of their preferred name(s) and gender pronoun(s) as well as not tolerate any hate speech from other students, as they are obligated to call out hurtful behavior, such as transphobic bullying that leads to an unsafe and actively transphobic environment.
  5. Nonbinary and transgender students should be allowed to have their preferred name used over the PA and on attendance sheets with a form that allows the student's preferred name to correlate with the official documents under their birth name or registered name. Nonbinary and transgender students, on many occasions, are publically called to the office via their birth name. It is embarassing and leads to dysphoria as well as harassment from their classmates. Legal name changes are expensive, even for an underage person with accepting parents. CCAHS needs to allow students to fill out a form that overrides the school's records so students can have their preferred name listed on attendance sheets and in public announcements. Two students in CCA's class of 2015 were addressed by administrators as their nicknames, Drew* and Nicki*, even though their registered names are George* and Betty*. These students are cisgender, but the same right to have a preferred name used over the PA is not given to nonbinary and transgender students with names that "are not shortened versions of their name". A simple form could be filled out to ensure that nonbinary, transgender, and intersex students are given the rights they deserve without feeling threatened at CCAHS. *The students mentioned are real students who graduated in May 2015, but their last names are redacted to protect their identities.

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