Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) commended students for organizing a walkout following weeks of panic in the district after a cisgender girl saw another person who was possibly transgender in the bathroom. The cis girl has since said that she’s not sure of the identity of the person she saw.
“This is the way!!!” Greene tweeted with a video of several hundred students walking out of Perkiomen Valley High School in eastern Pennsylvania.
Ron DeSantis and Matt Gaetz aren’t positively portrayed in the video either.
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The issue started several weeks ago when Tim Jagger, the father of a student at the school, posted on Facebook that his daughter saw a boy in the girls’ restroom, leading to outrage on social media.
The Perkiomen Valley school board discussed its bathroom policy at its meeting last week on Monday, September 11, following the attention the incident got. The board considered a policy to ban transgender students from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender.
At the meeting, Jagger admitted that “we aren’t sure” if the person his daughter saw was a trans girl, a cis girl, or a boy, but that didn’t matter because his daughter, he claimed, is “too upset and emotionally disturbed” to use the restroom at all. He told the board that “there is zero reason for someone with male genitalia to be in the girls’ facilities” and that transgender students should be forced to use single-person bathrooms.
This echoed the response he got from principal Cynthia Moss that his daughter can use “a number of single-stall restrooms throughout the building” if she doesn’t want to share a restroom with girls who are different from her.
The anti-trans policy was not passed by the school board in a vote at the September 11 meeting, despite getting support from the president of the board.
Superintendent Barbara Russell told The Philadelphia Inquirer that there have been no incidents in the school related to transgender students using the restroom. Students don’t change for gym class and no trans student is playing on a sports team in the school, so there haven’t been any issues with locker rooms either. She told WPVI that the policy aligns with state and federal protections for transgender students and said there’s no need to change it.
“It did not have to come to this social media, ‘Let’s further divide the community and hurt more kids,’ as opposed to support,” Russell said of Jagger posting to Facebook.
That division over allowing transgender students access to an equal education was amplified when student John Ott organized a walkout last Friday.
“Kids were upset. Girls… we wanted to protect them,” he told Fox News. “They were upset. They didn’t want men in their bathroom.”
Fox found some confusion among students, including one, Brandon Emery, who said that he didn’t know how the school district was going to enact the policy of allowing trans students to use the bathroom, even though that is already the current policy and has been for some time.
Fox & Friends, the far-right network’s morning news show, did a segment on the school district and Emery’s mother, Melanie Marren, told the show that the school didn’t take “into consideration how they affect the students and how uncomfortable it is to just be a teenager in general,” as if transgender students at the school aren’t students or aren’t going through awkward teen years themselves.
One trans former student at the school spoke at the September 11 school board meeting. Tarren McDonnell, who is now 21, said that she got harassed when she used the boys’ restroom, so she would use the single-person nurse’s bathroom. She said that it was far from her classes, adding about five to ten minutes to each restroom trip. It also set her up for harassment; she said that she was followed by a boy once who taunted her as she went to the nurse’s bathroom.
She said that she eventually just started using the girls’ room and “nobody ever gave me issues.”
“I’m praying that something does get done that protects us,” she said at the meeting, adding that she was “saddened to see the hatred and the ignorance” of trans people on display at the meeting.