School Board blocks transgender kids from choosing restroom

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A north Florida school board approved a measure on Tuesday that will limit restrooms to students based on their birth sex, not their gender identity.

The Marion County School Board approved the ban which took effect Wednesday morning.

The decision came despite a warning from the American Civil Liberties Union that the ban is unlawful, and could jeopardize federal funding for the district.

Board member Carol Ely says transgender students shouldn’t get to choose which restroom to use.

“I thought about it and that’s reverse discrimination,” she said.

Board Chairman Bobby James urged the board to hold off on creating an official resolution until further study could be done over the summer. His motion to delay the decision was not seconded, and died.

The district started allowing transgender students to choose their restroom two months ago. But a parent claimed his son’s privacy rights were being violated because he’s not comfortable sharing a restroom with a student who was born female but now identifies as male.

Roger Gannam, an attorney for the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel, is representing the parent of the student who complained. He argued that there is no legal mandate requiring the district to permit transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

“No school district has ever lost federal funding for maintaining gender-appropriate facilities, despite the claims of activists” he wrote to the board.

ACLU attorney Daniel Tilley tells The Ocala Star-Banner the group will represent any student needing assistance.

“When transgender students are required to use separate facilities, it does not go unnoticed by other students,” Tilley wrote in a letter to the board.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.