Disappointed in Killion’s actions
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