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School District Reverses Trans Bathroom Policy After Death Threats

School District Reverses Trans Bathroom Policy After Death Threats

transgender nonbinary gender neutral inclusive bathrooms reversal policy school district florida threats

Harassment and vandalism prompted officials to act.

The war against inclusive bathrooms still rages on, despite pleas to let trans and nonbinary people pee in peace. Students at a Georgia school district briefly enjoyed their newfound right to use whichever bathroom most closely corresponds with their gender identity until harassment and death threats prompted its superintendent to reverse the inclusive policy.

The district updated its policies following a federal court ruling that permitted officials to enact rules protecting trans and nonbinary students' use of bathrooms. The 11th Circuit court's decision, which also affects Florida and Alabama, will be heard before an appeals court in December.

Pickens County Superintendent Carlton Wilson told Atlanta's WSB-TV that he faced harassment from parents who opposed the policy, including threats made on social media, and a girls restroom was vandalized and marked with graffiti. He claimed that called the school and said, "You know, situations like this brings out crazy people from both sides and sometimes people die."

Tensions boiled to a fever pitch at a community meeting held Monday in Pickens County, which is located about 60 miles north of Atlanta.

"There are multiple bathrooms throughout schools," one parent said. "Make one set your transgender bathrooms and keep the other ones so everyone has an option." Another parent chimed in, saying: "This world has a lot bigger problems than transgenders is what I think."

Soon after the meeting, Wilson met with school district board members in an emergency session, where they voted to withdraw the changes.

Until state officials make a decision, trans and nonbinary students who seek a gender-inclusive option will have to use a single-stall bathroom once used by faculty, an experience that mirrors that of other students at schools across the country. One student in Wisconsin was forced to wear a wristband to go to the bathroom at his campus.

Wilson said he would defer to the state's board of education, which could issue policy guidelines on gendered bathrooms as soon as Friday.

State officials criticized the manner in which Pickens County rolled out its decision. "It is the responsibility of the local school system to ensure parents and community members are at the table, informed, and not taken by surprise when a policy is enacted and announced," the Georgia Department of Education said in a statement to WSB-TV.

However, the situation is just one of many recent policy fights over gender-neutral bathrooms and proper accommodations for trans and non-binary people.

Last month, the mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska -- the state's second-largest city -- said he would support local laws to restrict public bathrooms use on the basis of sex. Earlier this year, legislators in South Dakota voted against a measure that would have enacted similar restrictions in the state's schools.

It's not all jeers in Georgia, however. Some parents in the district think an inclusive policy is a no-brainer. "I don't think they're going to invade anybody else's privacy," one said. "They just want to go to the restroom and be treated like everyone else."

RELATED | A Trans Woman Was Arrested for Using Women's Restroom

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