Hundreds of Pennsylvania students walked out of class last week in protest after the school board rejected a proposal to restrict bathroom use to biological sex.
The Perkiomen Valley School Board voted against policy 720, which would have required students to use restrooms consistent with their biological sex.
To protest the board’s decision on Monday, Sept. 11, more than 300 students walked out of classes on Friday, Sept. 15.
“Kids were upset,” John Ott, the student who organized the walkout, said on Fox News. “Girls… we wanted to protect them. They were upset. They didn’t want men in their bathroom.”
His mother, Stephanie Ott, praised her son’s courage.
“The safety of females is so important and these students that stood out that walked out, they are to be commended,” Stephanie Ott said. “They have courage, and they exercise their First Amendment rights. This is about protecting our children and our privacy, and boys and girls. It’s simple biology.”
Several other students have spoken out against the current policy, which allows students to use whichever bathroom aligns with their gender identity.
“There needs to be some changes,” student Victoria Rudolph said, according to the New York Post. “It’s just uncomfortable seeing 19-year-old men or 18-year-old men in the bathroom.”
“It makes me feel as if it’s me and my sister and the rest of us students’ rights are now compromised and not a priority to this school whatsoever,” added Brandon Emery.
Melanie Marren, Emery’s mother, said these are issues that students shouldn’t be dealing with.
“They are making these policies without taking into consideration how they affect the students and how uncomfortable it is just to be a teenager in general, but now have to be faced with the invasion of their privacy in those areas where they should feel safe and private,” Marren said, according to the Post.
Jason Saylor, the school board president, voted in favor of restricting bathroom use to biological sex, but told Fox News he respects the board’s decision.
“Although I voted differently than the majority of the board, as board president, I respect the outcome of the vote and those who voted against expediting the policy,” Saylor said.
“I also appreciate our student body, those who came to our previous board meeting to vote, and the 300+ students who used their First Amendment right to voice their opinion in favor of the policy during their protest on Friday,” he added.