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School board votes to allow transgender students to use preferred bathroom

By Sarah Robinson

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    PEORIA, Arizona (KPHO) — Issues surrounding the rights of transgender students continue to make national headlines, and they’re hitting home in the Valley. One West Valley school district was considering changes regarding which bathrooms transgender students can use.

The Peoria Unified School District board had the issue on their agenda for discussion because there was no district bathroom rule in place. The board decided on Thursday night, voting 3-2, not to adopt a bathroom policy. This means transgender students can use the bathroom of their preference. “A lot of us just want common sense for the bathroom issues,” said Jodi Brackett, a parent in the district. “Boys go in the boys bathroom and girls go in the girls bathroom as it always has been.”

Until now, no district policy was in place, and we’re told the rules were unclear. “I’m here to advocate for myself. I’m a trans man, so I would like to use the men’s restroom,” said Sebastian Cerron, a student in the district.

Some students like Cerron say they want to be understood and feel this new policy is a step backward. “I live in the choir world and the culture there is unbelievably accepting and it’s just a really great space to be in, but that all stops right outside these choir doors,” Cerron said.

Others are here to support transgender friends. “I believe that we need to protect transgender children. I believe that if we are to push an agenda of acceptance and push an agenda of love and accepting people, then we need to integrate them,” said Ava Snyder, a student at Liberty High School.

Many parents tonight feel that allowing trans students to use the bathroom of their preference is a bad idea. “By using the opposite bathroom of their sex, I think that provides some safety and privacy concerns for other students,” said Nikki Ekncheff, a parent in the district. “Allow a transgender student to use the administrative staff bathrooms. This is a topic that does not need six hours of debate, we need to get on with the mission of how do we prepare our students to shape tomorrow,” said Kerry Kane, a former parent in the district.

This vote came as a shock to everyone. This was only supposed to be a discussion to get input and have more meetings in the future. But the board cut to the chase, and the vote is final

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