Port: School district wants apology from lawmaker who says their football team 'beat up' a trans student

"We would hope that Representative Dyk would reconsider the damage that his false statements have done," the Williston Basin School District No. 7 said in a released statement.

State Rep. Scott Dyk
State Rep. Scott Dyk, a Republican from Williston, testifies in favor of House Bill 1522 on Jan. 24, 2023. The legislation, if passed, would prohibit schools from providing accommodations to trans students or students who identify as anything other than human beings.
Video screenshot

MINOT, N.D. — Rep. Scott Dyk is a Republican from Williston-area District 23. Currently serving in the first legislative session of his first term, he is one of a wave of populist culture warriors elected on the 2022 ballot.

He has introduced House Bill 1522 , which would prohibit school districts from accommodating trans students in any way, from facilities to the use of pronouns. And, in what is no doubt a nod to conspiracy theories about some schools, in other parts of the country, providing litter boxes for students who identify as cats , Rep. Dyk's bill also prohibits "accommodation that caters to a student's perception of being any animal species other than human."

Real serious stuff, in other words.

Dyk's bill has become the source of much mockery, including in national headlines , and perhaps rightfully so. But it's also earned him condemnation in his own backyard.

While testifying in committee in favor of his bill on Jan. 24, Rep. Dyk claimed there was a situation in the Williston School district involving a trans student who had entered the female bathrooms on multiple occasions. Dyk went on to claim that "when the football team found out about it," they beat the student up.


In another part of his testimony, Dyk took aim at educators, accusing them of "grooming our impressionable children to consider sterilization and mutilation." Below is an excerpt. Click here to watch the entirety of Rep. Dyk's lengthy testimony, which was long on religion and anecdotes from other states.

His comments have now earned a rebuke from the Williston Basin School District No. 7 and the Williston Education Association.

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"The Williston Basin School District and Williston Education Association want to express that we find these statements to be disrespectful and damaging to public educators in the Williston Basin School District #7 and to the coach and student-athletes who participate on the Williston High School football team," the groups said in a joint statement posted on Facebook.

"Representative Dyk’s statements about K-12 educators foster a false narrative about teachers and the work they do every day," the statement continues. "His comments regarding our football program are also damaging to the reputations of the young men and coaches who work hard to represent Williston High School with pride. We would hope that Representative Dyk would reconsider the damage that his false statements have done to the Williston Basin School District #7 K-12 educators and our Williston High School football program."

The statement concludes with a call for "a public retraction and apology" from Rep. Dyk.

I spoke with Dr. Richard Faidley, the superintendent from the school district, and he confirmed to me that the incident with the football team that Rep. Dyk alleged did not happen.

"I have spoken with the athletic director, and he has spoken to the coaches and the facility managers. That incident did not occur at our high school," Faidley told me.

I reached out to Rep. Dyk by phone, text message, and email but did not receive an immediate response.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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