Teachers and students look forward to spring break so they can go on vacation and have fun. According to NBC News on March 24, one California high school science teacher went on spring break as a male but returned to school as a female.
The former Gary Sconce was an award-winning educator, husband, father and grandfather who has taught at Yosemite High School for 24 years. However, Gary Sconce is no more. The teacher will now be known as Karen Adell Scot. She changed her entire name.
Scot has been a science teacher for 30 years and 24 years at Yosemite. She said, “I will not return as my male persona ever again. I’m actually going to work as my real 'out' self. I stand in front of the class and I’m so filled with joy.”
The transgender teacher, 56, stood before her science classes in Oakhurst, California on Monday wearing a long auburn wig and makeup, a blue flowered dress and size 12W open-toed shoes. She said her brain will now match her body after a transition that has been a lifetime in coming.
The change has stirred controversy in the small town. One neighbor, Kathi Bales, wrote a letter published in the local newspaper last week telling Scot to quit her job and urging the community to reject her because she sees "this as an assault on the minds and morals of our children. It blurs the lines of what is right and wrong.”
Others have rallied to support Scot, saying she’s a role model for integrity, courage and authenticity.
Students were very supportive of their "new" teacher. They presented her with a giant card and cookies in class on Monday.
One student wrote, "Ms. Scot: No matter what anyone says you are courageous and beautiful for being who you truly are. You are my hero."
Administrators sent a letter to parents of 650 students advising them that the school district is bound by California law, specifically Education Section Code 220, not to discriminate against Scot because of her gender identity. A counseling staff will be available to discuss any issues with students; however, district officials have been clear that Scot can keep her job, but she’s under strict orders not to discuss her gender issues with her students.
School officials conclude they can’t afford to lose the kind of money they’d lose in a lawsuit if they discriminated against her. Besides, they have a good teacher and they don’t want to lose her.
Scot acknowledges that the change will be difficult and not everyone will be supportive. Some parents already have threatened to move their children from her classes or to switch schools entirely.
Scot has a 32-year-old son and a 31-year-old daughter. Scot's wife of 35 years wants a divorce.