MONROE, N.C. — Parents in the Union County Public Schools district spoke out Thursday night about a proposed policy on new rules for bathrooms and locker rooms.
The rule would force students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological gender.
Some people say it is a direct attack on the district’s most vulnerable students.
A handful of community members gathered in the parking lot to protest the proposed policy made last month at the Union County Board of Education.
“They try to say it is about safety, but it is not about safety,” said Regan Shaw, a community member.
Signs with messages, such as “Trans youth deserve a kinder world,” were propped up outside the Union County Board of Education meeting Thursday night.
School Board member Gary Sides proposed a new policy last month, which sparked the attention of community members.
“I offer the following policy for consideration by the policy committee and ultimately this board,” Sides said at last month’s meeting. “This is a matter of student safety and privacy and I withhold any other comments until the appropriate committee meeting.”
The proposed policy says students will utilize bathrooms and locker rooms of their biological gender or the school will provide access to a one-person unisex bathroom.
Sides says this policy involves safety.
Those opposed argue it puts trans youth in more danger.
“Public schools should be a safe space for all public schools,” Shaw said. “Do not indoctrinate. They teach people how to coexist. Gay people exist. Trans people exist. You have to respect other people’s rights to be who they are.”
“Even if bills like this won’t pass, policies like this won’t pass muster,” they’re still dangerous and harmful,” parent Christopher Harvin said.
Those against the policy say it’s a form of bullying while others at the meeting thanked Sides for his proposal during public comment.
“I came here a month late to tell you how grateful I am for your recent decision regarding Policy 501,” said a community member. “Your decision will benefit our students and our community as a whole.”
“Having gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms in our school is essential to teach our children that they have an inherent right to privacy and security in regard to our bodies,” said another Union County resident.
The policy was not addressed at Thursday night’s meeting.
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