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Public discusses transgender bathroom policy at Duval school board meeting

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of the public gave their opinions and comments on transgender bathroom access at a Duval County school board meeting Monday night. 

A Jacksonville woman is suing Duval County Public Schools for following the Obama administration’s recommendation that districts nationwide allow students to use the bathroom designated for the gender with which they identify. But the school board made it clear at Monday's meeting that it would not discuss the lawsuit. 

Currently, DCPS enforces an anti-discrimination and equity clause in its police manual. Gender was added to protections for race and color in 2008. 

The school board welcomed people to share their thoughts on whatever they wished during public comment.

"I feel the policies in this district in place since 2008 are an indelible part of ensuring each student is given equal access to education," Christopher Jordan said.

Several other people spoke in favor of transgender bathrooms.

Former student, 26-year-old Ryan Wright, said, "I am not transgender. But I empathize because I am gay. I was tormented. I was bullied, while in the exact same school system for years. And I felt like there was no help, even when I reached out for help, no one listened," said 26-year-old Ryan Wright, a former student. 

Two people spoke against transgender bathrooms in schools.

"Setting (the) LGBT issue aside for a moment, how does this body plan to handle lawsuits that are bound to arise from parents whose children are exposed to adults of legal age who enter facility of the opposite sex? Reckless endangerment may be an unintended side effect if this body remains on its current track," St. Johns County resident Mike Carter said. 

Before the meeting, security checked bags at the door and had people go through metal detectors. Then a moment of silence was held for the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando prior to the start of the meeting. 


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