Marion County schools consider transgender bathroom ban

FOX 35 News at 10 p.m.

- Marion County School Board members on Thursday voted 4-1 to restrict school bathrooms to students based on sex at birth and not gender identity.  The resolution will be put on Tuesday's agenda as an emergency item.

School board member Nancy Stacy pulled no punches. "If you look up the word 'sex' in the dictionary, it's clear: it goes by your sexual organs, period!"  Which is why Stacy says she and three of the other school board members believe that the federal law, known as Title IX, does not apply to this topic. 

Title IX prohibits schools that receive federal funds from engaging in sex discrimination.  Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that transgender students must be treated consistent with their gender identity based on Title IX.  But Stacy says here in Marion County, they will not comply.

The board plans to not only ban transgendered people from using bathrooms that don't match their biological sex at birth, but they plan to be the first board in the state to challenge the ruling based on what they claim is its unconstitutionality, as it "robs the general public of privacy and safety," Stacy says.

"I'm afraid of people pretending to be transgender and just cross dressing," Stacy adds.  She says transgender students have the option of using private stalls or the nurse's bathroom or a unisex bathroom available at at some newer schools. 

Stacy says, as more schools are built, the group style restrooms/shower facilities of today may all become single-room facilities, where all students can take care of themselves in complete privacy.   "Somewhere along the way, you have to have adults step in.  That's what we four ladies have done.  We say, 'These are children-we're stepping in."

The only man on the Marion County School Board is the only member who does not plan to vote for the ban.

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