Community questions student motives in North Pole High bathroom incident

 KTVF photo.
KTVF photo. (KTUU)
Published: Apr. 18, 2019 at 10:57 AM AKDT
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Community members poured into a school board meeting to weigh in on

where high school boys entered a girls bathroom, and a girl allegedly kneed one boy in the groin when she felt threatened.

People spoke out on both sides, debating the North Pole High School case, and its broader implications, according to KTVF's Sara Tewksbury, who

"Many of our students do not feel safe this week, so let's be clear, this was not an act of protest, this was an act of bullying. The superintendent's statement also appears to give some legitimacy to the stance of the cis-gender boy, the statement says that they entered the restroom quote to 'take a Snapchat of their own', similar to what the transgender student did, that is incorrect, the cis-gender boys were not taking a snap chat for the same reason, their intended snap chat was an act of bullying," said Hayden Nevill, Founder of Gender Pioneers.

Another resident of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Brandy Howard, said that defending either party isn't the point, but rather, securing equality.

"I'm not here to defend what the boys did, I'm not here to say that they were right or wrong, or that the girl was right or wrong...I think we're talking about equality for all, is all the students, and I'm glad that the school district and schools focus on equality for different kids but I think we need to make sure that we are looking at all groups of kids," Howard said.

Superintendent Karen Gaborik was also in attendance, and shared her thoughts on the incident, which is continuing to develop even after disciplinary action was taken against the boys, who entered the girls bathroom, as well as the girl, who made physical contact.

"The families have the right to appeal, so the first step in that appellate process is with a district hearing officer, and then the second step is with the school board, so in this particular case, first steps are scheduled this week, and those are happening. So again, I think it's important that we let these processes play out, this isn't finished yet," said Gaborik.

Gaborik added that she felt the tone of the discussion at the FNSB school district meting was open, but positive. She said that while conversations are difficult, they're also necessary, and the district plans to have more in the future.

Initially, the girl student who was involved in the case, and her parents, were expected to attend the meeting Wednesday, but they were not in attendance.