South Florida schools react to transgender bathroom use

PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) - After President Obama’s statements regarding the use of restrooms by transgender students, supporters on both sides of the debate are speaking out.

Many high schoolers look forward to their prom night. South Plantation High School senior Mya Shaw is no different. “I’m excited for prom tonight,” Shaw said. “It is going to be like, ‘Oh, I like your dress,’ and I’m like, ‘Thank you.'”

Shaw is now able to prepare for her big night with one less thing to worry about, being able to use the restroom freely. President Barack Obama made an announcement, Thursday, saying all public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity or risk losing funding. “Today’s just like a double whammy because, obviously, it’s a day that I’m never gonna forget so this on top of it,” Shaw said.

Mya said her experience at South Plantation overall has been good. However, it’s not always easy when it comes to bathrooms. “There is already enough anxiety. Like, ‘Will I get into a confrontation? At school, people who know me or have known me before, are they gonna be like, ‘You shouldn’t be here.'”

The debate has been fired up in recent weeks after the Justice Department sued North Carolina over a new state law that said transgender people must use bathrooms that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate. “Don’t discriminate about trans people in the bathroom. We’re just trying to get in, do our thing, and leave just the same as you,” Shaw said.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie has similar feelings as Shaw. “We need to do a better job in this country, and we need to move forward and figure out how do we accommodate the needs of our transgender students,” Runcie said.

However, not everyone is happy with the new development. Jack Hakimian with the Impact Discipleship Network in Miami is not happy. “There is no scientific data — conclusive scientific data — that people who have transgender identity are actually born that way and should be accommodated,” he said.

Shaw feels that the arguments of those like Hakimian are incorrect. “I just can’t see how in the minds of people who say it’s a choice,” she said. “Like, why would you choose something harder if it isn’t how you feel? If it isn’t just you needing to be you? That argument kind of blows my mind.”

Miami-Dade Schools also reacted to the president’s directive and released a statement saying, “Miami-Dade County Public Schools has a long-standing and robust anti-discrimination and harassment policy. We have provided training to school personnel regarding the rights of all students to ensure that our schools continue to be safe havens of hope and opportunity while protecting the privacy rights of all of our students.”

However, districts in other states are not so cooperative. The Texas Lieutenant Governor said they’ll go without federal funding and won’t go along with the new directive.

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