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District says Brookside High transgender students can use any bathroom

Posted at 9:03 PM, Sep 06, 2016
Parents in Sheffield got a letter saying high school boys can use the ladies room and vice versa. It is happening at Brookside High. Any student who identifies as transgender and seeks out a counselor or administrator can use the bathroom they identify with. Newschannel5 was told the change is an attempt to make all students feel comfortable.
 
Not everyone feels that way, however. We spoke with one mother who did not want to go on camera who said she is very disappointed with this decision. She said her daughter has enough going on just being a high school kid and does not need to deal with this new change.
 
"There's no middle ground. There are either really for it or really against it" said Sandra Willis, mother of three girls at Brookside High.
 
Willis says parents are split right down the middle in terms of how they feel about the recent decision.
 
 "I myself am for it under certain circumstances," said Willis.
 
School officials tell Newschannel5, four students at the high school identify as transgender. Last year the school, along with the district's attorney decided something needed to be done to make sure all students had the rights they're entitled to. The school designated a family-style private restroom to all students who identified as transgender.
 
High school principal Brent Schremp says this year, one transgender student said the current bathroom situation violated their rights. That is when the new decision was made. A letter from Schremp went home to parents. In it, it says, "Transgender students have a legal right to use the restroom they identify as."
 
"We have some students who are not trans gender who aren't going to feel comfortable with a transgender student coming in the bathroom so we offered them of the family-style restroom as well." said Sheffield-Sheffield Lake CSD Superintendent Michael Cook.
 
As the rule stands, students who have approval may use any bathroom they choose. Students who are not transgender who are not comfortable with the new rule may use the private family-style bathroom. 
 
Superintendent Cook says he has received his fair share of phone calls from parents.
 
"At first when you hear about it, it's concerning" said Cook.
 
But Willis says it is not a big deal.
 
"This isn't about danger this is about letting a kid to go to the bathroom where here she is most comfortable to go and the other kids shouldn't look at it as a dangerous situation," said "Willis.
 
The superintendent says the restrooms that are not classified as private all have stalls so there is a form of privacy.