Two transgender, non-binary students in South Glenn Falls, NY were kicked off a school bus on Wednesday, just because they wanted to sit on the "boys side of the bus."
WTF???? Yes, You read that correctly...as did I.
The driver of said bus decided...on his own...that school buses (at least the one he drive)...should be segregated by sex...boys on one side and girls on the other.
When Leo Washington, 16, and Aaren Sweenor boarded the bus, they sat on the boys side. Perhaps there were more open seats.
Before he started the bus, (the bus driver) gave us this weird look and he told us to get to the girls side of the bus and we didn’t move because we felt more comfortable where we were sitting. When we tried to explain it to him, he started yelling at us to move to the other side of the bus.
Washington believes that the driver was trying to prevent interactions between students who were coupled. Presumably he has yet to hear about gay couples.
It made me so angry and so upset that we were being discriminated against over something as trivial as gender identity — because it’s who we are. We can’t change it. It honestly just was a smack in the face.
Washington said that this year the school was all about "nondiscrimination and different stuff like that."
I always felt like I didn’t really fit in as a girl, but I didn’t fit as a guy either. I always just kind of existed.
Sweenor said in an email to The Post-Star that the two students wanted to sit where they were most comfortable. Other students showed pages in the student handbook to the driver to show him that he cannot control them based on their gender expression. They also showed him the anti-discrimination law.
The whole time he said: ‘I don’t care. It’s my bus,’ and ‘I’m not moving till I get what I want.’ He treated us as if we were wrong,
--Sweenor, in an email
The two eventually got off the bus and the driver did not contact any officials about what happened and left without a way for them to get home, Washington said.
Sweenor was been forced to come out of the closet as transgender because of the situation.
The whole experience was traumatic. I’ve been so terrified of my feelings and who I am and trying to be myself publicly has been horrifying. Coming into high school was a scary thing to begin with, so members of school faculty need to be trained better on how to act.
Students should not be discriminated against because of their race, gender or sexuality in a place where they’re supposed to be safe to learn. We need to make schools a safe space for everyone
Bus drivers are not members of the faculty, Aaren.
Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton called the matter “unfortunate” and said it was not handled appropriately at all. The students should not be segregated by sex on a bus, he said.
I do not believe the driver intended to discriminate. He only wanted to create some order on the bus. But he could have handled the situation better.
That practice can never continue. We’ve got to come up with other ways to organize kids on a bus — as long as they’re following the rules and following expectations.
After the students got off the bus, Patton said one of the district’s administrators happened to be in the back of the school.
He contacted their parents immediately and talked with the kids. We were able to get them a second bus.
Patton said the district also received information about the incident through text messages from students on the bus sent to the school’s anonymous tip line, which was established this year.