A teacher in New Mexico is catching heat because of the bathroom passes she hands out to her students. The passes, given out in Donna Cravey's math class at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, NM, are being criticized for their "insensitive" and "offensive" language.
Cravey's bathroom passes show the words "boys" and "girls" alongside the universal bathroom symbols for each gender. Above the image are the words "don't get confused." Not only does the language imply that trans students may be "confused" about their gender identity or which bathroom they belong in, but it also reduces gender to a binary between "girl" and "boy," erasing the reality of non-binary trans students. The outrage culminated with Junior Colin Barz tweeting a photo of the offending pass to Albuquerque Public Schools' (APS) Twitter account.
APS, who amended their policy this year to allow students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, responded immediately.
APS spokeswoman Monica Armenta called the passes “inappropriate” and “unacceptable” in an interview with KRQE News 13. Armenta said Cravey had been spoken to about the passes. As of now, Cravey has not responded to requests for comment, nor has she issued an apology or statement that implies she understands why the passes were not okay.
In this case, the students deserve credit for advocating for themselves and taking action to ensure that transphobic behavior — even if the teacher didn't mean to offend anyone — is not tolerated. “It’s kind of rude,” student Lilly Lelugas told KRQE. “If you feel like you should go to a certain place, to use the restroom, you should be able to.”
This incident is heightened against the ongoing debate in Virginia where high school student Gavin Grimm attempted to take his case to be able to use the bathroom of his choice all the way to the Supreme Court. The court was initially set to hear his case, but after a policy change under the Trump administration, the court rejected the case. A ruling from a lower court in favor of Grimm was also wiped off the books. Just this week, Grimm was named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People.
“High school is a place where you’re supposed to find yourself, and what you want to do and where you want to go,” Eldorado student George Martinez said. “It’s just not healthy for students to feel like they can’t be themselves around school.”
If you are a trans person thinking about suicide or experiencing a crisis, please call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860 for confidential support from other trans individuals.