ELIDA, Ohio (LifeSiteNews) — An Ohio school board that faced strong backlash from students, parents, and community members over its transgender bathroom policy is now under new leadership after a contentious election that saw members who had presided over the policy ousted in favor of candidates who promised change.
Voters in the Elida Local School District in northwestern Ohio last week elected a slate of new board members after “months of protest and backlash” against a policy permitting gender-confused boys to use the girls’ restrooms, The Lima News reported.
Candidates David Peters, Jaired Birks and Jeffrey Point had all campaigned on rolling back the controversial policy. They emerged victorious in the Tuesday election, beating out former board president Brenda Stocker and board members Ira Collier and Ben Troyer.
“This victory belongs to God, for whom I ran in the first place,” said Birks, who will take on the role of the board’s new president in January, in a Facebook post cited by The Lima News.
According to Birks, “the people have spoken, and it’s time to make the changes necessary to restore confidence in Elida Schools.”
The election came just a day after Ohio high school students staged a walkout to express opposition to their school’s policy that permits boys to use the girls’ restroom if they claim to “identify” as female.
“We’re upset about biological boys in the girls’ bathroom,” freshman Charisma Akroye, one of the students who walked out of class on November 6, told The Lima News.
“The school board hasn’t been listening,” she added.
Elida Superintendent Joel Mengerink had decried the walkout Monday, saying it caused “safety concerns” and took away “instructional time from our students.”
But in spite of Mengerink’s concerns, Akroye was joined by parents, community members, and dozens of fellow students in protesting the policy, which has taken center stage at school board meetings in recent months.
Akroye told WLIO that there have “been multiple accounts of boys coming in the bathroom, or transgender girls [sic], and bothering the girls in there and we’re just not for it.”
She argued that “biological boys need to stay in their own bathroom.”
Brenda Stocker, who lost her re-election bid to Birks on Tuesday by 500 votes after serving as board president for 15 years, had insisted that the board was merely abiding by federal law with its bathroom policy. She previously argued that banning gender-confused boys from girls’ spaces would subject the board to legal action “that we would certainly lose.”
The potential for a lawsuit apparently didn’t worry Point, who shrugged off the possibility last month.
“We can have a lawsuit from a transgender student or we can have lawsuits from Christian parents who have had enough of their child having to hold their bowels and not go to the restroom because they’re afraid of what they’re going to see,” he said.
The successes of the school board candidates who opposed the policy comes amid a nationwide backlash to measures that prioritize the preferences of gender-confused individuals over the privacy, safety, and rights of girls and women.
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 competing laws on both sides of the issue, LifeSiteNews has extensively reported.
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.