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A Philadelphia-area school district this week banned biological boys from using the girls’ bathroom after parents and hundreds of high school students caused an uproar over the issue.
The Perkiomen Valley School District on Monday voted 5-4 during a heated board meeting to approve a policy stating that students must use school bathrooms “based on their sex.”
The decision followed weeks of controversy after a father said his daughter was distressed over believing a boy was with her in a high school girls’ restroom and was no longer using the school bathrooms because she was too afraid.
“There is zero reason for someone with male genitalia to be in the girls’ facilities,” the father told the school board last month. “It’s a simple matter of biology, safety, personal space.”
The father added that students who “choose to identify as something other than your biological anatomy” can use single-user bathrooms.
After the alleged incident came to light, parents and even some school board members expressed anger that they were not aware of the school district’s policy allowing trans-identifying students to use the bathrooms of the opposite sex.
Initially, the school board had voted 5-4 on September 11 against a similar policy requiring students to use the bathrooms of their biological sex.
However, hundreds of high school students in the district reacted by staging a walkout.
About 400 students marched out of Perkiomen High School the following Friday holding signs saying, “Respect girls’ rights” and “Stay in your bathroom.”
On Monday, one school board member changed his mind, giving the board enough votes to approve a new bathroom policy requiring students to stick with the bathroom of their biological sex.
The new policy will also make more single-use restrooms available to students.
Monday’s school board meeting had several heated moments, including one where a man who supported the new bathroom policy was accused of mocking trans-identifying people by a board member.
“I’ve been identifying as a woman for more than a year. I grew a beard,” the man said.
“Mr. Keenan, you’re being hateful,” board member Laura White told him.
During the earlier board meeting discussing the issue, a woman said her trans-identifying child “is not going to go into a bathroom and rape anybody’s son or daughter.”
Transgender bathroom and locker room use has become a hot-button issue in school districts around the country, with many parents sounding off with concerns about their children sharing these spaces with students of the opposite gender.
Another common concern has been student gender transitions at school. Parents have accused their children’s schools of keeping them in the dark about their children’s new gender identities for long periods of time. Some have gone as far as suing their school districts.
More than 18,000 schools across the country have rules saying school staff can or should hide a student’s gender identity from parents, according to a list compiled by Parents Defending Education.
Some of the larger districts on the list are Chicago Public Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District, D.C. Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools, San Francisco Unified School District, Portland Public Schools, and Seattle Public Schools.