Parents and supporters of water polo players at Palm Springs High School gathered in front of the Palm Springs Swim Center, to express their concerns over three girls, seeing who they describe as a “naked man” showering in the women’s locker room.
“They were mortified, scared, and traumatized quite honestly. These girls don’t have experience with the male physique,” said Christine Foster, a mother of one of the players.
Foster says her daughter, Ashley, a 17-year-old senior, and two teammates, encountered the person taking a shower, when they entered the locker room, during a team practice session at the city pool.
“I think this individual is a predator, a predatory nature and found a loophole in the law with transgender issues,’ said Foster.
Foster said water polo coaches confronted the person, who they said told them they could be in women’s shower, because they identified as “female.”
The parents say the person left the pool when they “tried to take his picture.”
“Most of us are parents, and we’re fearful that our kids will come here and be exposed to something far earlier than what they expect to be exposed to,” said parent Patrick Rawlings.
Police were called to the pool, but did not pursue a case, telling News Channel 3:
“All parties were contacted. No arrests were made as no laws were broken.”
Under the state’s so called “Gender Neutral” bathroom law, people can use a bathroom, according to the gender they identify with. The law makes no mention of shared shower spaces.
“I’m infuriated that this would happen,” said Foster.
The Palm Springs City Manager responded to the incident.
“What we need to do is make sure everyone feels comfortable in our pool, so the policy were putting in place and the protocol will make sure that occurs,” said City Manager David Ready.
As part of what the city manager calls a “temporary solution,” the city will install a “unisex” shower near the locker rooms at the swim center.
Ready also said the city will look into installing dividers between all showers in the locker rooms at the swim center.
He also said the city attorney will present a new policy to the city council within 30 days, aimed at avoiding similar situations in the future.
The parents of two of the girls I spoke with told me today neither the school nor the district responded to them about their concerns, after they reported the incident.
We contacted PSUSD Wednesday, and a district representative provided this written statement:
“Both the Palm Springs Unified School District and the city of Palm Springs have taken this concern very seriously since it was brought to our attention after it occurred at the end of December, The school’s principal and water polo coach reported the matter to law enforcement and the city immediately following the incident. Supt. of Schools Dr. Sandra Lyon responded via e-mail to concerned parents about the District’s investigation and potential solutions. Neither the parents nor team members have shared any lingering concerns with school administrators following the incident. For the past month, the girls have been reporting to practices regularly and continuing to use the pool changing area under increased supervision. We appreciate the city’s efforts and have been informed that they are working on making modifications to the facility to ensure the privacy of our students.”