CMS puts hold on transgender students using facility of gender identity

CMS puts hold on transgender students using facility of gender identity

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has put a temporary hold on a new regulation that would have allowed transgender students to use the restroom and locker room that matches their gender identity.

The move comes just weeks before CMS is scheduled to start classes later this month.

"As a result of yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling, we have placed a temporary hold on the section of the CMS bullying prevention regulation which states that transgender students will be given access to the restroom and locker room facilities corresponding to their gender identity," CMS superintendent Ann Clark said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

"CMS remains committed to nurturing a safe and welcoming learning environment for every student," the statement continued. "The rest of the regulation, which is intended to promote consistency in anti-bullying support for all students, will remain intact."

Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a Virginia school board can block a transgender male from using the boy's bathroom at his school until it decides whether to intervene in his case.

The high court agreed Wednesday to allow the Gloucester County School board to bar Gavin Grimm from the bathroom that matches his gender identity until the justices decide whether to review an appeals court ruling in his case.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided in April with Grimm, who argued the policy barring him from using the boys bathroom violated federal education discrimination law.

Equality NC Executive Director, Chris Sgro, released a statement Thursday evening.

"We were disappointed after seeing the supreme court's ruling yesterday," Sgro said. "The impact of the ruling is still being assessed but we are hopeful schools will still accommodate transgender students."

"I have talked to transgender students and their parents and they cannot wait any longer to be protected from bullying and discrimination. We are confident that ultimately the Supreme Court will rule in favor of these common sense policies and help transgender students feel comfortable and safe so that they can excel academically in school," he continued. "In the meantime, I encourage school districts to work towards accommodating all students and keep the best interest of transgender students in mind- especially given the duress that many transgender students are experiencing under HB2."

The ruling from the Supreme Court sparked CMS to reverse a new regulation it rolled out in late June.

That's when The Charlotte Observer reported principals at schools across the district were sent a message saying "when school opens in August, transgender students will be called by the name and pronoun they choose. That chosen gender identity will be honored in restrooms, locker rooms, yearbooks and graduation ceremonies."

At the time, Clark said the goal of the CMS regulation was to allow all students to be safe and comfortable as they pursue an education.

"This is about courage, understanding and compassion," Clark told The Charlotte Observer in June. "These are our children. These are the community's children."

Clark and CMS attorney George Battle III said the then-regulation followed the guidance of a federal appeals court ruling and was not designed as an act of defiance against HB2, which, among other things, requires students to use public school restrooms and locker rooms based on the gender on their birth certificates.

"CMS will respect the Supreme Court's decision just as we did that of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals," Clark said Thursday.

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