Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Now, here's is an interesting story right in my backyard.... Well, right across the river plus an hour's drive. Despite the distance, it was still the lead story on tonight's local news here.

So a 71 year-old substitute teacher in a rural New Jersey school district got a sex-change operation. And the teacher, now known as Lily McBeth, applied under her new name to return to teaching.

The God Warriors got all flipped out about this. Don't tell me you're surprised.

"I, as a parent, am appalled to have this issue brought into my child's psychology," Steve Bond said.

Vincent Mustacchio predicted "chaos" at the school when the students learned of McBeth's surgery.

Young children will be confused by the conflicting appearance of McBeth, who has a deep voice and masculine features but otherwise looks like a woman, other parents said.

"I will not allow you to put my kids in a petri dish and hope it all turns out fine," said Mark Schnepp....

Petri dish? Good Lord. That quote alone is scarier than the whole idea of a transgendered teacher returning to the classroom..... And this is what happens when parents in a quiet suburban community don't have to fret about violence, open air drug markets, poverty, etc.; i.e. the tensions are so high because the stakes are so low.

Anyways, the local school board had a public meeting last night about the issue -- and decided to overrule the protests and accept Ms. McBeth's application.

After two hours of public debate and a private meeting with McBeth and her lawyer, the board took no action on calls by several parents to bar McBeth from returning to the school where she taught for five years before becoming a woman.

"It was magnificent," McBeth said afterward. "You saw democracy in action."

McBeth, a retired sales executive who was married for 33 years and had three children, underwent gender reassignment surgery last year and re-applied for her job under her new name.

McBeth on Monday told the school board and the crowd that she loves teaching and children, and looks forward to returning to the classroom.

"This is not something I got into just as a whim," she said.

A retired sales exec who's gone into teaching -- and still there at 71? Now that's really something you don't hear about everyday.

AP/Mary Godleski