Students Must Use Bathrooms Matching Their Birth Sex, Florida School Board Says

A protest sign on a bathroom which helped lobby for the first gender-neutral restroom in the Los Angeles school district is seen at Santee Education Complex high school in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 18, 2016. |

The Marion County school board in Florida has decided that children must use bathrooms that correspond to their biological gender after a father complained that a transgender student was violating his son's privacy.

News 6 reported that an emergency resolution was reached on Tuesday in a 4-1 vote, and the rule will take immediate affect.

The issue came about following a complaint by the father of a student who said his son's privacy rights were being violated due to a classmate — who was born female but now identifies as a male — who was using the boy's bathroom.

As the measure reads, single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms designated for girls are restricted to people "who are biological females," while the same facilities for boys are restricted for those "who are biological males."

The measure adds, however, that students who want to use alternative facilities "shall always be offered comparable facilities, as required by law."

It notes that students have "a reasonable expectation of privacy in MCPS schools and all MCPS single-sex facilities, based on the federal and state constitutions, and other laws."

One parent, who wasn't named, said it's an important decision to keep students protected.

"My concern is that some pervert is looking for the opportunity to dress up as a transgender and pray on innocent children, and because of their perverted action scars children for life," the parent said.

Board Chairman Bobby James said he was the only one who opposed the decision, arguing that transgender rights can be compared to 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.

Some colleges in America have moved in the opposite direction, however, with Cooper Union, an arts and engineering college in Manhattan, announcing in March that it will remove all gender identification signage from bathrooms across its campus.

"This goes beyond my original proposal, but it reflects where I believe Cooper Union needs to stand. We have always been ahead of our time and we must continue being leaders on issues of social justice," acting President Bill Mea explained in an email.

A number of Cooper Union alumni praised the decision regarding the bathrooms, but others were critical of the move.

"How freaking SAD this is!" wrote alumnus Eric Kaspriskie. "I am appalled at my alma mater. They should focus on restoring Peter Cooper's vision of Free Education instead of this crap." Cooper Union grad Tam Duong commented, saying "This college is heading straight to the toilet."

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