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    Monday, April 15, 2024

    A Connecticut fairy tale; and hiding juvenile crime

    While few people were looking, and while most who were were too deceitful to explain or afraid to speak out, the General Assembly passed and Governor Ned Lamont signed a law requiring public schools to distribute free feminine hygiene products in at least one male restroom.

    In anticipation of the law's date of implementation this coming Sept. 1, Brookfield's school administration installed such a vending device in a male bathroom at the town's high school. Boys being boys — at least most of the time — the other day some at the high school destroyed the device, thereby bringing the law more attention than it received while being enacted and causing Brookfield High Principal Marc Balanda to proclaim himself disgusted by the vandalism. Balanda called it "the work of immature boys, not men."

    But whose work was the law itself? Responsibility rests with legislators and educators who want Connecticut to believe that there are no biological, anatomical and psychological differences between male and female and that if people want to pretend about their natural gender, everyone else must pretend along with them.

    The feminine hygiene products dispenser law isn't the only manifestation of this pretense. The state Education Department advises schools to let students who consider themselves transgender use whichever restrooms they prefer. Some school systems direct their employees to keep a student's gender dysphoria secret from the student's parents if the student so desires. School athletic conferences require students claiming to be transgender to be allowed to participate in the sports of whichever gender they choose, though the policy remains under challenge in federal court by young women cheated out of championships by young men.

    Everyone in Connecticut must pretend, on pain of denunciation or worse, as in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes."

    The law's advocates defend it dishonestly as a matter of helping poor students — as if free feminine hygiene products can't easily be made available in female restrooms and school offices rather than in male restrooms.

    Brookfield's state senator, Stephen Harding, wants the legislature to consider repealing the law. But he approaches the issue as if it is just another excessive state mandate on municipalities, not an excess of political correctness. Can the pretense here ever be confronted at the state Capitol?

    Gender dysphoria is a burden to those who suffer from it. Schools should ensure that no one suffering from it is denied ordinary rights or harassed. But neither should gender dysphoria be used to deny the long-established rights of others, like gender privacy in restrooms, parental responsibility and equal opportunity for girls and women in sports. The pretense here makes government ridiculous.

    * * *

    Local television news reporters are good at showing up at a crime scene late, when witnesses have departed, and instead interviewing people who know nothing about the crime except what the reporters have told them. Typically the bystanders obligingly deplore the crime they didn't see and then are put on the evening newscasts.

    But such silly journalism last week was actually useful. A group of young people went on a car-theft spree, including a carjacking at a gas station in West Haven, and led police on a chase through several towns before being stopped back in West Haven. Some of the perpetrators ran off but police captured two 14-year-olds, one of them armed with a loaded handgun.

    Pressed by a TV reporter to comment later, a woman who was pumping gas at the station where the carjacking occurred and had seen nothing speculated that the incident demonstrated the need for more "programs" for young people.

    Many people may feel the same way. But while Connecticut long has had many "programs" for troublesome youths, their car thefts lately are more numerous than ever.

    What exactly are the "programs" for 14-year-olds with guns stealing cars? How successful are they? Do any involve confinement or is that now forbidden? And how will people ever find out while state government keeps juvenile court secret?

    Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. He can be reached at CPowell@cox.net.

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