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Anti-trans* Utah school board candidate comes in last place in primary election

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A school board candidate who advocated on his Facebook page for violence against trans* people using the restroom aligned with their identity has come in last place in Utah’s primary election Tuesday.

David Sharette, who was running for the Utah State Board of Education in the 8th District, pulled in 13 percent of the vote in the four-way race with 3,250 votes. Janet A. Cannon got nearly 38 percent with 9,351 votes and Richard Nelson got 24.78 percent, with 6,118 votes.

In a Facebook post regarding an America Family Association video showing female victims of sexual abuse while in a public restroom or locker room, Sharette came down on a recent mandate by the Obama administration that said transgender students should be allowed to use school facilities of the gender they are aligned with, regardless of their gender at birth.

“When has a true transgender been approached in the bathroom and asked to leave? Never. Does Obama care about all of the girls that will be abused because of this reckless policy? No. As long as he can portray it as an act of acceptance and equality, it doesn’t matter how many girls are abused,” Sharette said on Facebook. “If I see or hear about a man going into a restroom with my wife or daughter, I’ll make sure he comes out a woman.”

Sharette refused to comment to media outlets, but in response to posts on Facebook, he stated that the controversy resulting from this post misrepresents him, in that the statement “was referring clearly to child rapists, not transgenders.”

He had also shared a link on his page from the American College of Pediatricians stating that “Transgenderism of Children is Child Abuse.” The ACP has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group” with “a history of propagating damaging falsehoods about LGBT people.”

In additional response to the outcry against his position, Sharette announced this policy statement on his Facebook page:

“School bathrooms: Several constituents have asked me about my position on the transgender access to bathroom and locker-rooms issue. My longstanding support of local control is even more important when considering this topic. Every individual should expect SAFE bathroom access in our schools. In fact, school safety should be the #1 consideration with every State School Board policy. Every student who has special needs of any kind needs to be considered as an individual in our schools. Parents and school leaders need to be free to work closely together to do what is best for that student, within the laws and rules we have set for our state. I firmly believe that our local school leaders and parents, given autonomy, have the best interests of our students at heart and are the very best people to address the special needs of our students – including transgender students. Local control is essential in these cases so that all aspects of the situation can be carefully considered and all needs met.”

“I don’t want David Sharette anywhere near kids,” said Sen. Jim Dabakis in a Facebook post. “His post advocates violence against transgender people. And he is a leading candidate for the Utah State School Board (District 8) in Holladay, Murray and South Salt Lake. Think twice, please, about supporting these values.”

Sharette is a conservative who is also vehemently opposed to federal standards in the education system, Common Core and the STEP program.

He also works at American Preparatory Academy, which is owned by his mother, Carolyn Sharette. The familial relationship of the APA staff was called into question in 2010 by the state school board.

Janet A. Cannon, an LGBT ally, and Richard Nelson, who has large support from conservatives, will be on the final November ballot.

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