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posted: 3/20/2017 5:00 AM

Dist. 211 incumbents stand up for all kids

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One slate of candidates in District 211 insists that the "comfort" and right to privacy of all "normal" children (i.e., ones who conform to traditional gender roles) should trump any alleged right a transgender student has to be free from discrimination. Better that transgender kids dress and undress in lonely isolation, where they won't be a "threat" or "danger."

If this is not adult-sanctioned bullying, then it's a first cousin -- a result of bigotry and ignorance. Furthermore, a policy of exclusion puts a target on a child's back and is an open invitation to bullies.

I taught 28 years in a feeder district to District 211, worked on the playground, and knew bullying firsthand. Kids get ambushed; it can be quick and sudden, sharp as a knife, vicious and soul-destroying. A clutch of girls turns their backs on cue when an unpopular girl walks by. A boy, perceived to be weak and "gay," is excluded from a game and exposed to snickers. It's hard to combat. Teachers don't see it, kids lie, and their parents refuse to face the truth.

Bullies normally target a single victim. But in a fundamental sense every child is a victim because every child is prey to imagining what it's like to be singled out and stigmatized. Kids are profoundly peer-conscious, narcissistic and vulnerable; deep down, they feel unique in their strangeness, full of self-doubt, easily shamed.

It's very sad. Witnessing acts of bullying makes every student marginally less willing to stand out, be different, take risks, or express unpopular opinions. "What will others think?" Everyone pays a price. It diminishes every child. No one flourishes.

Please vote for Robert LeFevre, Anna Klimkowicz and Edward Yung for District 211 school board. They're unembarrassed to stand up for transgender students, and in doing so they're standing up for all district children.

Roger Fraser

Rolling Meadows

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