TROY, Ohio – Controversy is brewing in Troy City Schools regarding a transgender student’s bathroom privileges, prompting district officials to bring in an expert in an attempt to quell parental concerns.
Lee Ann Conrad, director of the Transgender Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, addressed the community at a meeting last Thursday held at the local high school. The goal was to explain to parents what policies are best for transgender students amid protests and complaints about a recent decision to allow a female-turned-male student to use the boy’s facilities, WDTN reports.
“I think the biggest thing is that people are afraid that that child is a sexual deviant of some sort,” Conrad said. “They’re afraid that child is going to come into school and take advantage of their child and that’s simply not the case.”
“I feel like Troy is asking the appropriate questions and they’re wanting more information and that’s a great thing,” he said.
Conrad’s presentation came after weeks of protests by parents over the district’s announcement that transgender students will be permitted to use the school facilities that matches their gender identity, regardless of their biological gender.
The telephone message sent to parents Aug. 31 stated the district is following federal Title IX regulations that prohibit schools from discriminating against students based on their gender identity by allowing a biological female student who identifies as male to use the boy’s restroom at Troy Junior High School.
A dozen parents immediately protested the announcement outside of the board of education building, where they toted signs that read “Outrage hundreds to please one student?!?” and “My students deserve privacy no coed bathrooms,” WHIO reports.
The next week, more than 100 people packed a community meeting to present school officials with a list of concerns about the policy. Some of the invited school officials attended, others didn’t.
Most recently, 19 people addressed the school board at a meeting Monday to speak out against allowing transgender students to choose which restroom to use, the Dayton Daily News reports.
“I recommend you refuse the Title IX money and increase my taxes,” parent James Meyer said to a roaring applause. “I’d be happy to pay added taxes.”
School officials, however, seemed unmoved.
“We are always for adherence to the law, the law as we understand it,” board member Joyce Reives said.
Students in other school districts across the country are challenging their schools’ transgender policies citing Title IX protections, and the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice have issued opinions supporting transgender students’ “right” to use the restroom of their choice.
In many other school districts, transgender students have accepted a dedicated restroom or unisex restrooms as a compromise, but the transgender student in Troy forced the district’s hand, board president Doug Trostle told parents.
“If the parent and child are not willing and just want that inclusion, that is when it become the bigger case that we are being confronted with today,” Trostle said.
And despite Conrad’s presentation and the district’s it’s-out-of-our-hands attitude, many parents are not backing down.
“I think that gender neutral restrooms should be provided for students who don’t want to go into one or the other, but my sons should not have to worry about a female walking into the bathroom with them and my daughters shouldn’t have to worry about a male walking into the restroom with them,” parent Bryan Kemper told WDTN after Conrad’s talk.