An elementary school principal in Massachusetts has announced in a letter that his imagination tells him he is a woman and he will present himself as female going forward.
Principal Tom Daniels, who has led Stanley Elementary School since 2012, explained in the Feb. 6 correspondence that he has struggled with his gender identity mental illness from the time he was a youth, and has “never felt completely happy or at peace” with himself. He said that he has hid his struggle from the world for years, reports the Salem News.
“After confronting a series of challenges last fall, I let myself imagine the possibility of being completely honest with myself and those around me. I can now say it: I am transgender,” Daniels wrote. “For me, that means I identify as both a male and female, and I plan to move toward presenting myself and identifying as female.”
He advised that he will now go by his middle name, Shannon, instead of Tom, which he said “perfectly denot[es] [his] fluid gender identity.”
“I would respectfully ask that I be called Principal Daniels. When using pronouns to refer to me, ‘he,’ ‘she’ and ‘they’ are all acceptable,” Daniels stated.
The principal noted that he would most likely present himself differently, and said that he would work to ensure that his decision would cause “no negative impact” on the school. He also gave parents suggestions as to what to say to their children in regard to why his looks have changed, such as, “There are many different ways boys and girls express themselves. It is important that we accept everyone as they are.”
“I am proud to be the leader of this school, and I sincerely believe that the ability to live my life openly and authentically gives me great serenity and will make a me a more sensitive, empathetic, and effective leader,” Daniels wrote. “I humbly ask that you support me as you would any family member going through a profound life change.”
He further told The Salem News that he woke up one morning and asked himself, “Who am I and what do I want?”
“I said, internally I’m a female and I want to be one,’” Daniels claimed. “It gave me this incredible peace and happiness. It was just right. At age 52, I’m brave enough and maybe foolhardy enough to do the right thing.”
Superintendent Pamela Angelakis applauded Daniels and said she admired his transparency.
After disclosing his transgender mental illness, Principal Tom “Shannon” Daniels is now taking a temporary leave after receiving messages “that (s)he considered hurtful,” according to the superintendent of schools.
In a letter to parents and staff, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis said that she and Stanley School Principal Tom “Shannon” Daniels agreed that Daniels would take “at least a few days off” this week. The two plan to meet Wednesday to discuss the situation, Angelakis said.
Angelakis also said there was a “police presence” at the school on Monday and Tuesday “in order to ensure a smooth return for students and parents (from school vacation) while hopefully reducing anxiety that parents may be feeling as a result of the heightened media attention.”
Angelakis said she had several conversations with Daniels last week in which Daniels reported receiving messages “that she considered hurtful relative to his recent announcement and the media attention it received.”
Daniels declined to comment on Tuesday, referring questions to the superintendent’s office. Police Chief Ronald Madigan did not return messages regarding the police presence at the school.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 28th, 2018