CMS criticized for new provisions for transgender students

Published: Jun. 21, 2016 at 10:32 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2016 at 11:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) District is getting backlash on new regulations concerning transgender students using the restroom of their choice.

CMS made the decision on Monday. Twenty-four hours later critics were sounding off. Senator Phil Berger called it an "Outrageous plan to break the law."

The North Carolina Values Coaltion sent a press release stating "Superintendent Ann Clark has chosen to violate the state's HB2 law instead of following common sense accommodations."

Clark responded to critics who think the move was a political one.

"The timing had nothing to do with HB2," Clark said. "But with the timing to get everyone trained."

Clark said the district has been working on this since last summer. She said this week was the only time to do it while all administrators were in training.

The superintendent said transgender students needed clarity about using restrooms and locker rooms.

"They want privacy," she said. "They are not looking for opportunity to do anything inappropriate. I am not seeing cases nationwide that might concern parents."

Clark said this has to do with a district having courage, while Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James argues this could present an issue with students' safety.

"Real courage would have been defending young girls who have no one to defend them in a locker room," James said.

The politician wishes CMS would have waited until HB2 was figured out in the higher courts.

"Instead of waiting for that to play itself out," he said, "CMS did what it usually does - which is to jump in with these most liberal and far-left viewpoint that anyone could have."

NC governor Pat McCrory also issued a statement Tuesday.

"Instead of providing reasonable accommodations for some students facing unique circumstances, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System made a radical change to their shower, locker room and restroom policy for all students," said Graham Wilson, Press Secretary for Governor Pat McCrory. "This curiously-timed announcement that changes the basic expectations of privacy for students comes just after school let out and defies transparency, especially for parents. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System should have waited for the courts to make a decision instead of purposely breaking state law."

Clark believes the law is on CMS' side and hopes there will be no consequences.

Berger's office said there are more than 800 comments on his Facebook page, with a majority of the comments against CMS' new regulation.

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