Transgender bathroom access debated at Clay school board meeting

Clay superintendent opposes feds' directive

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A room at Fleming Island High School was packed Thursday night for the Clay County school board meeting.

Discussed at the meeting was Superintendent Charlie Van Zant’s recent announcement that Clay County will not abide by the Obama administration directive to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

Van Zant said students will instead be required to use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate.

VIEW: Statement by Clay superintendent regarding transgender bathrooms

He declined to do an on-camera interview with News4Jax, saying he had already said what had to be said Monday.

“I was just so angry about what he said that I felt like I needed to get up and do something about it and show my support to transgender students,” parent Jodi Smith said. “The things he said on the robocall were so hateful and blatantly political."

Parents and those in attendance at the meeting were divided in opinion.

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate to have boys and girls in the same locker room, and same restrooms. I think it opens up doors for a lot of problems, going through physical changes. I think of a half-dozen boys that would’ve loved to seize that opportunity and go into girls’ locker room,” parent Cathy McMillan said.

The issue has caused controversy in other North Florida school districts as well. A Jacksonville woman is suing Duval County Public Schools for following the Obama administration’s recommendation that district’s allow students to use the bathroom they identify with.

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