Stiles Zuschlag

Stiles Zuschlag, of Lebanon, Maine excelled academically and in sports and had many friends at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth, New Hampshire. In fact he was on the path to become valedictorian. By all accounts he is also a biblical scholar. By any reasonable measure, Stiles Zuschlag is a good kid; the kind you want in your school.

Everything changed for Stiles when he and his mother met with the school administrator in August to talk about a transition. Stiles is a transgender boy. So what? As you might guess conservative Christian ignorance replaced educational values, basic respect and empathy. Paul Edgar, the administrator, told him that he was no longer welcome at the school; that he was “going down the wrong path;” that he should repent his sins and stop testosterone treatments. Edgar recommended Christian Counseling.

Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine now has the pleasure of having a very smart and studious kid who works hard. He is accepted for who he is and is able to use gender appropriate facilities. Stiles is happy.

Yet that begs the question: What kind of imbeciles are running some of our nation’s schools? Paul Edgar is the very definition of close minded. Presumably Stiles was suffering with gender dysphoria. It is a condition that should be free of religious opprobrium. Stiles is not a volunteer. He did not make a choice. Mr. Edgar should have enough intellectual curiosity to know that there is no known medical intervention to treat gender dysphoria and that gender affirmation is the only thing that provides relief. Is it too much to ask Mr. Edgar to actually care about a student he is responsible for?

Trans youth are fragile, vulnerable and marginalized. Mr. Edgar is content to make matters worse. What on earth does he think Christian counseling will accomplish?

The holier-than-thou folks at Tri-City Christian Academy, by the way, are probably breaking the law in the way that they solicit donations. The academy operates under the umbrella of Tri-City Covenant Church. The school is not separately incorporated and does not have to file a form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service. That is perfectly legal. However, donations go to the church, not the school. However, their online donation form suggests otherwise:

Tri-City Christian Academy

It seems deliberately misleading. By the way, Tri-City Christian Academy doesn’t legally exist. They haven’t bothered to file an assumed name with the secretary of state of New Hampshire.  They have filed an entity known as Granite State Christian Schools Association whose stated purpose is to “promote Christian Education.” It is a state-recognized nonprofit but it is not a separate 501(c)3 organization.

Apparently that does not include promoting what is best for students. At least not LGBT students. 

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.