Marion County School Board rules students must use restroom of biological gender
Resolution created after father files complaint
OCALA, Fla. – School leaders in Marion County approved an emergency resolution Tuesday requiring students to use the bathroom of their biological gender.
The new rule takes effect immediately, and the decision brought cheers from the hundreds who gathered at Tuesday night's school board meeting.
The issue came up after a father complained that his son's privacy rights were being violated because a classmate, who was born female but now identifies as a male, was using the boys' bathroom.
The school board resolution says transgender students are not protected by law and that students expect not to see people of the opposite sex in the bathroom.
"My concern is that some pervert looking for the opportunity to dress up as a transgender and pray and innocent children and because of their perverted action scars are children for life," one concerned parent said at the board meeting.
Board Chairman Bobby James said that he stands alone opposing the restriction. James said that every student should have their rights protected. Jones said the issue of transgender rights reminds him of the way African-Americans were treated in the 1960s.
"I was here in the early '50s and '60s. You know about those little bathrooms and all of that and people have all kind of things. This world is evolving. All I'm saying is we need to be prepared to make good decisions," James said.
Mathew Myers, a sophomore at Forest High School, said he began his transition to male this school year. Myers said that he uses the bathroom in the nurse's office at school.
He spoke at Tuesday night's public hearing and was brought to tears when he heard the 4-1 vote approving restrictions on transgender bathroom access.
"I'm not scared," he said. "I'm just sad because there are other people besides me that will have to deal with this."
School board vice chairwoman, Kelly King, said that the alternative bathrooms are a safe place for transgender students. King also said she too expects lawsuits if the board approves the restriction.
"We know either way, we are probably going to have some lawsuits. You know, lawsuits regardless," King said.
News 6 found out the religion-based Liberty Council has agreed to pay the legal bills for Marion County schools if those lawsuits are filed.
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