An Oklahoma public school will continue to allow students to use bathrooms according to their chosen gender identity despite backlash from parents and government officials.
The Stillwater Board of Education recently adopted a resolution to continue the controversial bathroom policy allowing male students identifying as females to use the girls’ bathroom and vice versa.
The resolution states that “the Board of Education intends to continue the District’s practice of permitting transgender students to use students restrooms that align with their gender identity unless it has no choice but to alter its practice because of binding authority directing otherwise.”
Parents have criticized the policy, with many raising concerns about the safety of girls who may encounter biological boys in the restroom.
“This is opening the door for all kinds of abuse to happen. I know. I was a victim of sexual assault in middle school,” said Kim Chaffin during public comment at a recent board meeting. “I had boys assault me in a hallway in the school in front of a lot of people. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if I had been in a locker room or a bathroom.”
Another mother commented that her 13-yr-old daughter doesn’t use the bathroom at school “because she doesn’t feel safe, and that’s not from hating anyone. We don’t hate the other kids. She just doesn’t feel safe and doesn’t feel that, I guess, her privacy is protected.”
A spokesperson for Joy Hofmeister, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction defended the policy, saying, “Oklahoma public schools must allow students to use the bathroom of their choice, based on the student’s self-professed gender identity, and cannot restrict bathroom access based on biological gender.”
But other government officials don’t see it that way.
Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters sent a letter to Stillwater School Board members, suggesting they misinterpreted Title IX. “You have chosen radicals over your students, ideology over biology, and ‘wokeness’ over safety,” Walters writes. “Biological males should not receive unrestricted access to women’s restrooms, leaving our young girls uncomfortable and afraid to enter them during school.”
In another letter, Oklahoma Attorney General John M. O’Connor said that the Oklahoma State Department of Education wrongfully required schools to permit biological males into female restrooms. “No legal precedent currently requires Oklahoma schools to open women’s restrooms and locker rooms to biological males, or vice versa,” he wrote.
The Stillwater bathroom policy is similar to the one in Loudoun County, Virginia where two sexual assault cases made national headlines last year. In those two incidents, the same biological boy sexually assaulted teenage girls at two separate schools. In the first case, the assault took place in the girl’s bathroom where the boy entered wearing a skirt.
The Lion has requested comment from Stillwater’s School Board but has yet to receive a response.