(LifeSiteNews) — Pennsylvania high school students on Friday took part in a large-scale walk-out to protest the school district’s decision to allow boys to use girls’ bathrooms.
On September 15, more than 300 students from the Perkiomen Valley School District in Pennsylvania walked out to protest the school board’s decision not to pass Proposed Policy 720, which would have barred gender-confused boys from using girls’ restrooms, Fox News reported.
In comments to Fox, school board president Jason Saylor said that he had “voted differently than the majority of the board” and expressed appreciation for the “300+ students who used their First Amendment right to voice their opinion in favor of the policy during their protest on Friday,” though he explained that he “respect[s] the outcome of the vote.”
The proposal originated after the father of a teen girl who attends one of the district’s high schools posted on social media that his daughter had become emotionally distraught after an interaction with a person who appeared to be a gender-confused boy in the girls’ bathroom.
“The fact of the matter is, my daughter will go to school and not use a restroom here now,” the father, Tim Jagger, said in a social media post. “She is too upset and emotionally disturbed to walk into a restroom.”
The school board considered the policy to ban boys from using the girls’ restrooms in a September 12 meeting, a local ABC affiliate reported.
“Do we think it’s accurate and fair that students should have access to any bathroom they want depending on how they identify?” school board president Jason Saylor said during the meeting. “Do we think that’s appropriate? It’s my personal opinion, I don’t.”
However, superintendent Barbara Russell argued that the proposed change ran afoul of the district’s existing “non-discrimination” policy that aligns with Title IX and “calls out gender identification as a protected class.”
The school board opted not to implement the proposed policy, sparking the student protest that saw hundreds of students walk out of their classrooms on Friday.
High school student John Ott, who organized the walk-out, told Fox on Monday that the protest took place because “kids were upset” and they wanted to “protect” girls who “didn’t want men in their bathrooms.”
“There needs to be some changes. It’s just uncomfortable seeing 19-year-old men or 18-year-old men in the bathroom,” Perkiomen Valley student Victoria Rudolph shared.
Another student, Brandon Emery, argued that the prioritization of privileges for “trans”-identifying students is cutting against his own rights and those of his sister and other students.
“It makes me feel as if it’s me and my sister and the rest of us students’ rights are now compromised and not a priority to this school whatsoever,” Emery told Fox.
Mothers of the students also shared their concerns and expressed appreciation for their children and their classmates who stood up against the school’s refusal to protect the privacy of high school girls.
Ott’s mother told the outlet that the “safety of females is so important,” and the students’ decision to protest should “be commended.”
“They have courage and they exercise their First Amendment rights,” she said. “This is about protecting our children and our privacy, and boys and girls. It’s simple biology.”
Likewise, Emery’s mother, Melanie Marren, blasted the district for “making these policies without taking into consideration how they affect the students…”
According to Marren, the district isn’t taking account of “how uncomfortable it is just to be a teenager in general, but now have to be faced with the invasion of their privacy in those areas where they should feel safe and private.”
The mainstream allowance of boys and men into spaces designated for girls and women – including bathrooms, changing rooms, and locker rooms – has sparked national debate and a bevy of laws representing both sides of the issue.
Conservatives warn that forcing girls and women to share intimate spaces with male strangers violates their privacy rights, subjects them to needless emotional stress, and gives potential male predators a viable pretext to enter female bathrooms or lockers by simply claiming transgender status.