Tales from Wasilla: Mat-Su School District’s Priorities

Matanuska-Susitna School District School Board, 2022 (Source: School District Web Page)

It’s hardly a secret that the Matanuska-Susitna Valley faces a number of grave problems: substance abuse, failing schools, appalling levels of sexual assault and entrenched bigotry and racism, to name just a few.

Which makes the recent decision by the Mat-Su School District to focus on a non-existent problem both a further demonstration of bigotry and a wasteful sideshow. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District board on Wednesday approved Alaska’s first local ban on transgender girls participating in girls sports and other school-sponsored activities.

Mind you, there aren’t any Mat-Su trans girls attempting to compete in girls’ sports. The problem doesn’t exist. There are transgender students in the Mat-Su schools; if the testimony at the school district’s public hearing is any indication, those trans students suffer from serious bullying and even assault. Rather than deal with that problem, the school board decided to engage in some bullying and assault of their own.

The Anchorage Daily News reports, “The 6-1 school board vote Wednesday evening came after lengthy public testimony, much of it from parents and students who said the policy addressed a problem that doesn’t exist but could increase already dangerous levels of discrimination against transgender students in the district.” The six school board members voting in favor of the probably unlawful sexual discrimination said they did so with the goal of “protecting girls in sports from competition with “male-bodied” athletes at an unfair advantage.” Of course, in girls sports events with students from other, possibly more enlightened school districts, trans kids participate based on gender identity, so even by school board standards,1 that excuse seems pretty lame. Even dishonest.

There will be lawsuits. The smart money says Mat-Su will lose. But the rock solid bet is that some lawyers are gong to make a ton of money. As a retired lawyer himself, WC doesn’t regard that as an entirely bad thing. But WC is certain that the cowardice and stupidity of the School Board will mean money will be spent on lawyers instead of educating students.

The Mat-Su school district’s official motto is, “We prepare all students for success.” Except, apparently, transgender females. They don’t even get the opportunity.

1 “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” – Mark Twain, “Bite-Size Twain: Wit and Wisdom from the Literary Legend”, p.26, St. Martin’s Press.