OSPREY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Sarasota County school is believed to be the first in the Tampa Bay area to create a bathroom policy for transgender students.
The new policy was announced on Friday via an automated phone call that said transgender students can use the bathroom of the sex the identify with.
The phone call was sent to parents of Pine View School in Osprey. Students from 2nd to 12th grade attend the school.
Nate Quinn tells News Channel 8 that he is the transgender student behind the change, which he first asked for a year ago.
“When I came out to my guidance counselor last January, right after I came out to my parents, I asked. She asked Dr. Covert, Dr. Covert said no,” said Quinn about the principal’s initial response.
Quinn tells News Channel 8 that after a recent bullying incident, administrators found out that Quinn, who was born a female and now identifies as male, was using the male bathrooms.
“He told me not to use the bathrooms. But I’ve been using them anyway. My driver’s license says male. There shouldn’t be a problem. He said parents could complain and there are second graders on campus,” said Quinn.
On Friday, parents were alerted by phone message that a transgender student was granted permission to use the bathroom in which they indentify.
Quinn tells News Channel 8 the message came after he and his father met with the principal.
News Channel 8 asked Sarasota County Schools about Quinn’s request. District communications specialist Scott Ferguson declined to speak about it and released the following statement:
“Pine View School administrators recently received a request from a transgender student who asked to use the restroom for the gender with which the student identifies. Based on resolutions reached by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights regarding other schools districts, the student’s request has been granted. To protest the student’s privacy, the school and district can provide no additional information.”
Some parents have expressed concern to News Channel 8 saying the policy “creates opportunity for things to go wrong” and that they’re concerned about my student who may witness the opposite sex in the restroom.”
The new transgender bathroom policy has a lot of support. Hundreds of Pine View students signed a letter that was sent to school administrators requesting that “Pine View must be a place for all students to thrive, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, political orientation, socioeconomic class, faith, and ability.”
A group of supporters is also pushing to get the Sarasota County School District to create a transgender bathroom policy. The group is asking people to call the school board on Monday, Jan. 25.