Texas students protest after trans student allegedly denies use of high school facilities
Dozens of students from Temple, Texas, demonstrated in and outside Temple High School on Wednesday in support of a transgender student who was reportedly denied the use of a female toilet and locker room.
Video and photos shared on social media showed students at the school waving pride flags and carrying banners with messages of support for LGBTQ students.
Crowds can be heard chanting “Trans lives matter”, and in one video, a teacher is heard telling students, “Whatever, go to class.”
The protest comes just a week after a 16-year-old student posted her experiences at school on Instagram.
“Over the past few years I have been in transition, to be more precise, I have been using the female toilet since grade 7. Teachers and staff have had no problem with this so far, more earlier this month I was told I could not use the locker room because there were “real girls” in there, “the high school student wrote in the September 22 post.
“However, today (9/22/21) again my teacher mentioned that I couldn’t use the locker room because I’m trans, I mentioned to her that I had a form specifically saying that she was not allowed to tell a student, let alone which locker room or toilet to use, ”she added.
The student said she was asked to change in another closet with a student, which the girl said was out of her comfort zone.
The post garnered over 4,000 likes at that time.
On her Instagram account, the student also shared information about Wednesday’s silent protest and the third period walkout.
Under the Temple Independent School District’s code of conduct, students have the right to protest, but activities that cause students to skip classes or leave classes without permission are violations of the code.
A district spokesperson told local news channel KCEN-TV that “additional security measures and the PD Temple were on campus to help keep staff and students safe.” School officials said the protests remained peaceful.
District guidelines on enrolling transgender students require that students be identified by their “legal last name” as it appears on the student’s birth certificate or other identification document and that they dress in accordance with school dress codes.
The guidelines also require that all transgender students have access to “gender-neutral” washrooms, changing rooms, and / or night-time facilities, such as a nurse’s office.
News week contacted Temple ISD and Temple Superintendent Bobby Ott for further comment, but did not receive a response until publication.