LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's a discussion schools across the country will likely be facing if they aren't already: Controversy concerning the use of restrooms by transgender students.
At Atherton High School the Site Based Decision Making Council agreed to allow a transgender male student who identifies as a girl to use the girl's restroom. Tuesday night, several students and parents appealed the decision claiming it is not an issue of sexuality, but of safety and privacy.
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"Myself and the other students who are females are uncomfortable with going to the restroom with a physically male student," one student told the council. Another student, Sophomore Kara Roper, told them of the reaction she's heard at school, "There are many other people that are just afraid to speak and they have different religions and they don't feel safe."
Phil Arnold was one of the school's parents who addressed the council. "I wouldn't want to take anybody's right away to use the restroom or the showers, but I would not see their rights impinge upon the rights of many more people that would like to use those same facilities undeterred and without fear," he said.
Roper said she's not intimidated with the stall door shut but also said of privacy issues, "They do have that, but girls if the stalls aren't available, we are all girls, so we might change in there."
Attorney Clinton Elliott, who represents those opposed to the school's decision, asked the council what was to stop casual access of other males who aren't transgender from entering the girls restroom claiming to be.
But the principal told the group, the school hasn't had an indecent exposure issue and if they do, they would deal with it. Other council members agreed the argument wasn't strong enough to change policy. A decision pleasing to Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman who also has no issues with schools having multiple gender-neutral restrooms.
Hartman said, "I think we'll see more gender neutral restrooms cropping up, but for right now, this is a great solution that Atherton has come to and we're happy for it."
Elliott plans to talk with the parents opposed and if they still want another review he says under the district's bylaws it would go to the Jefferson County Public School Superintendent. It could then be taken to an appeals committee that would present it to the school board.
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