School: Transgender student’s birth name will be read at graduation


Red Lion Area School District says a transgender student can wear a black cap and gown for graduation, the colors worn by male students, but his birth name will be read in the ceremony. Last month, FOX43 News brought you the story of Isaak Wolfe, who was born Sierra Liberty Stambaugh, who wanted to run for prom king. When the school refused and entered Isaak in the running for prom queen, under his female birth name, he went public with his story and enlisted the help of the ACLU. Isaak and his date were allowed to attend prom, but not be in the running for prom king.

“I am really disappointed that the school district doesn’t want to do anything to protect transgender students,” said Wolfe, a senior at Red Lion Area High School. “I want to make sure that future transgender students are not humiliated and disrespected the way I was.”

Wolfe has gone by Isaak since the summer before his junior year of high school, and his family, friends and most of his teachers call him by that name. Wolfe, who just turned 18 a few weeks ago, plans to legally change his name but that process, which involves a court hearing, cannot be completed in time for graduation next month.

“There is absolutely no legitimate reason for the school to refuse to read Isaak’s male name at graduation,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “Their failure to do so shows the same lack of sensitivity they exhibited during Isaak’s attempt to run for prom king and knowingly mars what should be a happy occasion for Isaak and his family.”

Wolfe plans to take his case to the RLASD school board at their next meeting on Thursday, May 16.