New Jersey

NJ School Board Votes to Adopt Transgender Bathroom Policy

"Acceptance should be the expectation, not the exception to the rule," former student says

A northern New Jersey school district voted to adopt a policy allowing transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.

The Pascack Valley Regional High School District voted 6-1 to pass a policy they say is designed to protect transgender students' rights. The district said the policy is needed to comply with anti-discrimination laws. 

But the public comment period lasted late into the night Monday, with students and parents speaking out, some in support and others against the proposed policy.

Former student Hannah Simpson, who graduated in 2003 before transitioning, returned Monday to do something for herself she wasn't able to when she attended: fight for the rights of transgender students. 

"Acceptance should be the expectation, not the exception to the rule," she said. 

Opponents also took to the podium, some citing religious concerns, others worried that the policy would compromise the privacy of their kids who aren't transgender.

"My daughter's kind of upset. She doesn't want to have to think about boys in her locker room with her," said one father. 

The meeting was the second time the proposal has been put up for a vote. The board tabled the issue in February after parents and residents voiced concerns.

The policy follows several other New Jersey school districts that have passed similar measures. But one school board member hinted the debate is far from over, saying he expects lawsuits to be filed against the district.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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