Local Schools Respond to Transgender Bathroom Mandate

Alicia Turner
May 13, 2016

THOMASVILLE Ga -- Administrators with Thomasville City Schools said they will comply with the new rule, as they do with all federal mandates. Students will be allowed to use the bathroom based on their gender identity. But for folks in this community, it’s not such a clear cut issue.

For many in Thomasville the question of boy and girls bathroom has never been a concern. Now the topic is a lot more complicated. One that won't just flush away

"I think when you're born you’re born a certain sex and when you're older you should go to that bathroom not unisex," said Joanne Branda.

"It’s a great idea and it will allow students who identify with whatever they identify to use the bathroom they feel comfortable in," said Stacy Salerno.

Many residents argue that there is a level of danger associated with this kind of change.

"It’s harming everyone. I think in some ways we're going just too far," Branda explained.

Stacy Salerno said she is surprised it’s even an issue.

"It’s going to affect their academic achievement, and how they feel at school. They're helping them develop their own identity. Something as simple as using the bathroom, that they feel comfortable with is the minimum they should get," Salerno said.

"This is one of those choices of our current reality that we all must face and address; and we will do what we have to do," said Sabrina Everett.

Everett is the superintendent for Thomasville City Schools. She said schools have already been working to get ahead of the issue.

"We want to be proactive, not reactive," Everett explained.

The superintendent said at the end of the day, it comes down to what’s best for educating our young people.
"Our responsibility will be to create a policy that is fair and equitable to all students, and continue to have an environment that's safe where all students feel comfortable," Everett said.

The city schools were already planning a meeting and training session next week to consider new policies on use of bathrooms, along with other issues.

The statement below was released by the Thomas County School System in response to the issue.

“The recently issued federal guidance states that schools may provide additional privacy options to any student for any reason. The guidance does not require any student to use shared bathrooms or changing spaces, when there are other appropriate options available.

Transgender students within our school system are provided access to individual, private restrooms. We believe that this meets both the spirit and letter of the federal guidance while allowing all students to feel that their privacy expectations are met.
The Thomas County school system is committed to treating all of its students with dignity and respect and will always work cooperatively with students and parents to find appropriate solutions to a child’s individual situation which will not infringe upon the rights and beliefs of others.”

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