Parents of students at a California high school are reacting to news that a long-time male high school science teacher is going to return after spring break as a woman.
The teacher, Gary Sconce, informed the Yosemite School District that he will be back in the classroom April 22 as his "true self," a woman by the name of Karen Adell Scot, KFSN-TV reported Thursday.
"When you aren't who you really are, it's like being smothered. It's like being rolled in a wave, if you've ever been rolled in a wave in the ocean where you can't find your way up, you don't know which direction you've been turned," Scot told the station.
The 56-year-old husband, father and award-winning teacher came out to his family last April. Since then he has been undergoing hormone replacement therapy to transition to the person he says he is intended to be. He has been a teacher for 24 years
School district Superintendent James Sargent announced that Sconce was "in the midst of gender transition" in a March 19 letter to the parents of all 650 students at Yosemite High, the Fresno Bee reported.
“We are committed to facilitating this in a sensitive way to all concerned,” superintendent James Sargent said in the letter posted on the Bee website.
The Bee said the gender change has caused many reactions. It said in a letter to a weekly newspaper, community resident Kathi Bales was strongly opposed. "I see this as an assault on the minds and morals of our children. It blurs the lines of what is right and wrong," she wrote.
The paper quoted Scot as saying that kind of intolerance is what causes many transgendered people to commit suicide, or become victims of violence or murder. Scot said he won't be "pushing any social agenda" with students and will continue to "run a conservative and disciplined class."
KFSN said news of the gender change is causing all sorts of reaction from the community, including from some of Sconce's former students.
“Some parents are pulling their kids out of classes and things like that, and some of the staff is uncomfortable, which I don't understand because if you work with someone that long, they're not a different person, they're the same person just a different gender now," Natalie Choin told the station.
Jeffrey Turro added, "My feeling is if they come out and bring a community engagement and bring out community kids to discuss it, maybe bring out psychologists to discuss the changes you go through and why someone goes through that, it might be easier on the community up here."