Board members of the Gettysburg Area School District in Pennsylvania recently voted to rehire a transgender female tennis coach despite reports he had used a girls’ locker room and bathroom in the past year.
According to PennLive.com, the school board rehired Sasha Yates on September 5 by a 6-2 vote after deadlocking 3-3 on the issue a few weeks earlier.
The report notes board members provided “scant” details about Yates’ coaching contract, but denied it was due to his gender preference.
It also mentions - briefly - that a year ago Yates had received a memo from Gettysburg High School Principal Jeremy Lusk “outlining concerns” and noting it is “imperative to maintain professional boundaries.”
These concerns included Yates (pictured above) changing in and “walking through” the girls’ locker room, and “talk[ing] to students about undergarment preferences and menstruation.”
A more detailed report in The Epoch Times from late August notes that Yates, formerly known as “David,” had been coaching at Gettysburg since 2018. He switched to “Sasha” last year, and after being terminated in the spring reapplied in July.
The board’s initial 3-3 vote had maintained Yates’ termination; this was overturned last week.
Why was Yates let go in the first place?
The Times notes that in the fall of 2022 Yates changed his clothes in the girls’ locker room — “stripping down to bra and panties” — where the (girls) soccer team also was changing.
Members of the team had reported “it was clear from what they saw that Mr. Yates was still fully a man.”
The following spring, Yates used a girls’ bathroom in which a member of the softball team was present. Yates reportedly “tried to strike up a conversation” with the 16-year-old female athlete, leading the girl to text her coach “[T]his damn tennis coach just walked into the girls bathroom … Like, [expletive] You’re a [expletive] man.”
The girl’s father brought the matter to the attention of school officials, whereupon he was informed Yates “would not be rehired for another season of coaching.”
He thus considered the matter closed.
That is, until Yates’ name popped back up on a list of school coaches this summer.
“Now, everybody in this area seems to be crying that it is hate—that nobody wants this guy back because he’s transgender and it’s hate,” the father said.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with hate on my part. I don’t care what the guy wants to call himself. My job as a parent is to protect my child. And he had no business going into that bathroom, and his actions proved that he cannot be trusted.”
Why was Yates brought back?
The Times notes that following the bathroom incident, a solicitor convinced board members not to fire Yates immediately as they could end up being sued.
The solicitor then warned about a possible lawsuit if the board did not rehire Yates after he (re)applied.
PennLive reports while there were more people who spoke against Yates at the latest board meeting, “the majority of the comments were still squarely in the coach’s corner.”
A PennLive editorial essentially ignores the locker room and bathroom incidents, opting instead (in conditional language) to call for Pennsylvania lawmakers “to protect LGBTQ+ people”:
The state legislature should move immediately to provide clear protections for LGBTQ+ people in Pennsylvania and ensure what many fear is happening in Gettysburg doesn’t happen again.
No one should face discrimination because of their sexual orientation. No one should face obstacles to securing housing or access to services because they are gay, lesbian, or transgender. No one should be denied a job or face being fired because of their sexual orientation.
But supporters of Coach Yates believe that is the reason she hasn’t gotten her contract renewed to continue teaching tennis.
PennLive also quotes a student on the boys tennis team who said “there’s no validity to the disgusting claims […] about [Yates]” and that he “cannot stand here and refuse to acknowledge that blatant transphobia is the main motivation behind this commotion.”
The student also claimed a cisgender coach who had used the locker room would not have faced similar scrutiny.
But the softball player’s father reiterated that Yates’ initial termination wasn’t “because of what he calls himself” - it was “because of his actions and the fact that he can’t follow directions.”