In a sad parallel to this week’s Hero, Fort Collins High School, part of the Poudre School District in Colorado, earns this week’s BWA for its treatment of transgender students. Dionne Malikowski, a 16-year-old junior, was suspended for using the women’s bathroom at the high school. The school acknowledges that she is transgender, but insists that she only use a staff bathroom; these bathrooms are far fewer than those for students, thus denying her equal access. Dionne is so upset by the situation that she has decided to transfer to another school.
Sadly, the school district has taken this stand despite the fact that Colorado is one of the few states to have clear protections in place for its transgender citizens, including bathroom access. Schools are often given special exemptions in the interest of “student safety” despite the clear recommendations of the Transgender Law Center. As Dionne herself wisely points out, she would likely be less safe using the men’s bathrooms.
Dishonorable mention goes to the Union-Scioto local schools in Ohio for their refusal to act promptly in updating their bullying policy and practice after the beating of this week’s Hero, Zachary Huston.