Dis­ap­pointed in Kil­lion’s ac­tions

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

To the Ed­i­tor Although leg­is­la­tors’ Town Hall meet­ings should en­able con­stituents to share their con­cerns in a free and open fo­rum, the op­po­site was true for State Sen.Tom Kil­lion’s (R-9th Dis­trict) Town Hall on July 27. Dozens of at­ten­dees at that meet­ing wit­nessed his bla­tant and in­ex­cus­able at­tempt to se­lec­tively si­lence dis­cus­sions re­lated to his strong sup­port of Penn­syl­va­nia’s ill-ad­vised “bath­room bills.”

It is a fact that Se­na­tor Kil­lion has been a spon­sor and/ or strong pro­po­nent of bills that would force our pub­lic schools to al­low trans­gen­der stu­dents to use fa­cil­i­ties in ac­cor­dance with their per­ceived gen­der iden­ti­ties – if the stu­dents choose to do so. If passed, schools would, for ex­am­ple, be legally re­quired to al­low a bi­o­log­i­cal fe­male who iden­ti­fies as a male to not only use male bath­rooms, but also male locker rooms, show­ers and overnight ac­com­mo­da­tions (as on school trips).

The back­ground lead­ing up to the se­na­tor’s in­de­fen­si­ble Town Hall con­duct is de­scribed below.

In mid-June, I hand-de­liv­ered a let­ter de­tail­ing my ob­jec­tions to these bills di­rectly to Se­na­tor Kil­lion’s of­fice. I was told that it would be re­layed to the se­na­tor and as­sured that he would read it. It fo­cused specif­i­cally on the detri­men­tal im­pacts that would re­sult in Penn­syl­va­nia’s schools from the shar­ing of the afore­men­tioned fa­cil­i­ties by stu­dents of dif­fer­ent bi­o­log­i­cal anatomies. The fol­low­ing key points were em­pha­sized:

1. The small per­cent­age of trans­gen­der stu­dents in our schools (~0.3 per­cent) must be treated re­spect­fully and ac­com­mo­dated in a rea­son­able man­ner that does not un­ac­cept­ably vi­o­late the civil rights of the vast ma­jor­ity of school stu­dents.

2. Com­mon sense – not big­otry – is by far the pre­dom­i­nant rea­son for op­po­si­tion to these bills. Pri­vacy and safety is­sues (specif­i­cally the safety of bi­o­log­i­cal fe­males in male locker rooms) are ma­jor and un­ques­tion­ably le­git­i­mate con­cerns. The ac­knowl­edged sex­ual ha­rass­ment and al­leged sex­ual as­sault in the male locker room at Con­estoga High School last year should serve as a warn­ing in this re­gard.

On June 25, I met briefly with Se­na­tor Kil­lion at his Open House and at­tempted to dis­cuss the let­ter that I had taken to his of­fice at least ten days pre­vi­ously. As­tound­ingly, he seemed to­tally un­aware of its ex­is­tence! Even more dis­turb­ing was the fact that he seemed con­fused when asked about specifics of the var­i­ous “bath­room bills” that were be­fore the leg­is­la­ture at that time. I left the se­na­tor’s of­fice won­der­ing if he had thor­oughly read and un­der­stood the bills that he was sup­port­ing and quite cer­tain that he hadn’t con­sid­ered the dele­te­ri­ous con­se­quences that their pas­sage would have on Penn­syl­va­nia’s stu­dents.

Dur­ing the pub­lic Q&A at Se­na­tor Kil­lion’s July 27 Town Hall I at­tempted to ask whether the se­na­tor had re­con­sid­ered his sup­port of the “bath­room bills,” but he rudely and un­pro­fes­sion­ally re­fused to al­low me to ad­dress this topic. It was only af­ter an in­di­vid­ual in the au­di­ence ad­mon­ished him for pre­vent­ing me from speak­ing that I was able to do so, but my com­ments were mud­dled by his fre­quent in­ter­rup­tions.

Con­stituents should never be dis­re­spected in this man­ner by a pur­ported “pub­lic ser­vant” whose salary we pay. Se­na­tor Kil­lion’s au­to­cratic be­hav­ior and un­con­scionable sup­pres­sion of le­git­i­mate ques­tions and gen­uine con­cerns clearly in­di­cate that he is un­wor­thy of be­ing re­elected to the PA Se­nate in Novem­ber. Joanne Yur­chak East Goshen

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