California parents say biologically male counselors slept in camp cabins with fifth-grade girls

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Two California mothers expressed outrage Tuesday on “Fox & Friends First” after discovering that a school-organized science camp had allowed nonbinary counselors to sleep in the same cabins as fifth-grade girls.

According to the parents, the biologically male counselors at Camp Pali in San Bernardino were granted sleeping arrangements according to the gender in which they identify.

Suzy Johnson, a mother of two, told hosts Carley Shimkus and Todd Piro that she became aware of the issue after her daughter and friends were abused by a female counselor during the outing.

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The mother alleged the counselor threatened to slap the girls, pulled their braids, grabbed them by their feet in their bunks if they did not get up in time, and turned the shower off while they were still getting ready. The incident was allegedly not related to the nonbinary counselors.

“It was constant fear that my child and her friends went through,” said Johnson.  

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After speaking at a Los Alamitos school board meeting, Johnson was flooded with messages from parents describing the same situation, learning that Camp Pali allowed counselors to sleep in cabins based on their gender identity.  

According to Rachel Sandoval, the school district has not stated that a biological male had slept in the cabin with the girls and failed to follow up with her. The mother then contacted the science camp, which confirmed that it decides sleeping arrangements based on gender identity, not sex.

“My 11-year-old daughter had told me that there were multiple counselors that expressed that they identified as they/them. They also had a group of kids that were lectured on the inappropriate misgendering of counselors,” said Sandoval. 

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A PowerPoint presentation sent to parents by the district did not mention anything about the camp’s gender policy or specify that counselors and campers would be separated by gender.

A spokesperson for the school district told KTLA that it had launched an investigation and that all complaints and concerns would be taken seriously. An assistant director at the camp said the policy on sleeping arrangements was in accordance with California law.

In a statement, an attorney for Pali Institute said, “To our knowledge, there have been no biologically male counselors in shared cabins with female students at Pali Institute. While counselors may have used the pronouns, they/them, the use of these pronouns is not restricted to biological males. Biological females also use those terms.”

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