A South Carolina school district has announced plans to adopt new policies on bathroom use after a Transgender student was suspended for using the bathroom matching his gender identity.
The student, identified as R, had been using the boys’ bathroom since middle school. However, he was suddenly told in his senior year of high school that he had to use the girls’ restroom or the nurse’s bathroom. R was suspended when he was seen using the boys’ bathroom by a teacher.
R soon afterwards transferred to an online school to complete his senior year.
Horry County Schools has responded to a demand letter from the Transgender Law Center on behalf of R, warning of legal action unless they acted immediately on the issue.
Horry County Schools is the first district to affirmatively change their policy following a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision earlier this month affirming that Transgender Students have the right to use facilities that match their gender identity.
The district superintendent said that should R return to school, “he, and all other transgender students, will be allowed to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.” The district has agreed to remove the suspension from R’s record, educate faculty and staff on the appropriate use of pronouns, and update classroom attendance rosters to reflect a student’s preferred name.
On the district’s decision to reverse policies, R’s mother Lynne said:
“We are so grateful and excited about this outcome, and that my son might now be able to walk across the stage and graduate with his class. While this doesn’t erase the harm done to my son, it means a lot to us that no other student in the district will have to go through what my son went through.”
Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center, said “we thank Horry County Schools for finally turning around and doing the right thing by committing to treat transgender students fairly. It is both illegal and wrong to ban transgender students from using the restroom matching the gender they live as every day. The law is clear, and we expect other districts to follow their lead and fall in line – or face the legal consequences.”