The mother of a transgender student urged a South Carolina school district Tuesday to update its bathroom policy after her child was suspended for using the boys' bathroom.
The mother, identified by WMBF-TV as Lynne, said her transgender son has been using the boys’ room at Socastee High School for just over three years until October when he was ordered to use the girls’ restroom or go to the nurse’s office.
Lynne pulled her son, identified as “R,” out of the school and enrolled him in online school. “R” won’t get to walk on stage at the end of his senior year to get his diploma.
“That’s a huge thing for teenagers to take that walk and he’s not going to get to do that,” Lynne told WMBF-TV.
She said her son felt uncomfortable with using the girls’ room or the nurse’s room and was suspended in January for using the boys’ bathroom.
"Just let them use the bathroom and don't bother them,” Lynne told the station. “Don't harass them. Don't single them out. Just let them do what they do every day so they can focus on what they're in school for, which is to learn."
The woman said she was worried about other transgender students in the school district and she wants to see the district pass a policy where students can use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.
The Transgender Law Center sent a letter to Horry County Schools Thursday, warning that the district would face a lawsuit if students were barred from using the restroom of the gender students identify with.
The center said transgender students don’t need special accommodations – they need to be treated like all other students.
Horry County School Board Chaiman Joe DeFeo told WMBF-TV the district has handled all transgender cases appropriately.
"The truth of the matter is there's been very little conflict with it over the years,” DeFeo said. “We do have transgender students and I don't see it as a major problem. But somebody else might."
The Transgender Law Center said it will file a complaint Wednesday if it doesn’t receive confirmation that the school allows transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. They could file a complaint with the Department of Education under Title IX.
"The District maintains the privacy of all of its students. The District seeks to accommodate the individual needs of its transgender students in compliance with the law, including Title IX,” the school district said in a statement. “We will continue our efforts to ensure a welcoming school environment for all students.”