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NC School District Decides: Students Can Pick Their ‘Preferred Identity,’ Bathroom and Locker Room

Penny Starr
By Penny Starr | June 24, 2016 | 11:48 AM EDT

In this March 29, 2016 photo, Mitch Xia, left, rallies with other organizers during a march on Franklin Street against N.C. House Bill 2 in Chapel Hill, N.C. (Whitney Keller/The Herald-Sun via AP) 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina have decided when the new academic year starts in August, students can pick their “preferred identity” and use the restrooms and locker rooms accordingly, the Charlotte Observer reported on Monday.

“Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sent a message to all principals Monday: When school opens in August, transgender students will be called by the name and pronoun they choose,” the article stated. “That chosen gender identity will be honored in restrooms, locker rooms, yearbooks and graduation ceremonies, according to a new regulation released Monday.”

“This is about courage, understanding and compassion,” Superintendent Ann Clark said at a press conference held after school officials held a “training” session on transgender students. The “training” video was provided by the Charlotte Observer.

“These are our children,” Clark said. “These are the community’s children.”

George Battle, legal counsel for the school district, said this isn’t about opposing HB2, the legislation that was made law in the state in March, requiring students to use public facilities based on the gender on their birth certificate nor is it following the “guidance” issued by the Obama administration shortly after the law was passed to public schools that said not allowing transgender students to use the facility based on “gender identity” could violate federal civil rights law.

It’s about a ruling from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., that said transgender students must be allowed to use restrooms based on the gender they identify with, not the one on their birth certificate, Battle said.

“That’s the law of the land for five states that are in the 4th Circuit, North Carolina being one of those states,” Battle said. 

“To make no mistake about it, this isn’t CMS taking a stand against HB2,” Battle said. “This isn’t about us flouting our legislature. This is CMS following the law as it states.”

The article also said a student’s transgender status is confidential and the district can’t tally the number of students that “fit that description,” adding that experts say that about 0.3 of the U.S. population identify as transgender.

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