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Today is Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Parent Is Not A "Cross-Dresser" Superintendent Says

Francis-Howell School Policy Unlikely To Change

The recent controversy following a Castlio Elementary School field trip is not the fault of a parent labeled a "cross-dresser," but can be blamed on other parents and the media, according to Francis Howell school district Superintendent Dan O'Donnell.

O'Donnell said the district will issue a statement shortly after the holidays regarding the issues stemming from the October 18th field trip to Jefferson City. He said that statement will include very little in the way of a policy change. "Our policy already protects children and we already have a policy in place that deals with disruption," O'Donnell said.

He said that nothing out of the ordinary happened on the field trip#151;that the parent in question dressed as a woman, as had been the case for many years. "This person has been living as a woman for some time," O'Donnell explained.

What happened that made this school event different was the reaction of a few parents, O'Donnell said. Apparently those parents informed the media that the parent in question was a father who wore a woman's hairstyle, makeup, women's jeans and women's shoes. The disruption, he said was caused by those parents, not the parent painted as a "cross-dresser."

"This is not a cross-dressing issue," O'Donnell said, "This is a transsexual issue."

O'Donnell said he and the Castlio principal recently met with the father, who for years has volunteered at school functions. "He went on the trip because his daughter asked him to go," said O'Donnell. "If he had known it would have caused this much of an uproar, he wouldn't have gone," O'Donnell said.

The parent's identity has not been revealed, and he has not spoken publicly.

Since the field trip, some parents have pressed for the district to impose conduct and dress codes for parents attending school-related functions, though some board members have questioned whether it could do so constitutionally.

Vickie McMichael, whose daughter was part of the field trip, said she and other parents want a policy that would "protect our children and our parental rights." Alternatively, she has said she wants the school to let her know any time an identified cross-dresser is in the building so she can pull her child from school.

During a board meeting earlier this month, a man whose wife teaches at Castlio said in defense of the father that the man had been volunteering at school and attending parent-teacher conferences for at least eight years while dressed as a woman.

"No one has said a word. No one has had a problem with him until now," said Marty Hodits, 54.

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