Transgender bathroom battle brews at Washington High School

WASHINGTON, MO (KPLR) - A bathroom battle is brewing in Franklin County.

Some parents said Monday that Washington High School should have done more to inform them about a transgender student's attempt to launch a petition to use the girl’s bathroom.

School officials however told FOX 2 that the school hasn't approved nor has it allowed the transgender student to use the girl’s bathroom.

"The fact that we could have a guy in our bathroom is putting our safety at risk," said ninth grade student, Autumn Hailey, "I don't think that we should have to put our safety at risk for one person because it could lead to other people thinking that they could use the bathrooms."

Hailey's parents said that while they don't have a problem with the transgender student's personal beliefs, they're worried about their daughter's safety.

"My issue is that our kids who go to this school, what's going on with them and that's it," said Hailey's step-father, Jeff Mullersman "we have three others that are eventually going to this school so it is our concern, what are the school's beliefs?"

"I was very upset when it came up in a casual conversation when she said, oh now he can use our bathroom and it was a total shock," said Melissa Hailey, "I think the school should've notified the parents".

Brandy Neil has twin girls also in the ninth grade. She said that she is also worried about how the student's actions could impact her daughters.

"If they allow this to happen what's next? Who is next?" Said Neil, "even if this boy isn't a threat who's to say that the next boy won't be a threat?"

In a statement the school said:

"The district seeks to provide all students a safe and tolerant learning environment.  This includes an environment free from discrimination and harassment.  We do have an explicit policy regarding our bathroom and locker room facilities. That policy states that transgender students may use the restroom or locker room that conforms with the student's gender assigned at birth, or they may use any unisex facilities available to students.  We will continue to work with students and their families to support individual needs and investigate any concerns."

School principal, Dr. Kelle McCallum said that the transgender student is aware of the school policy and has also been told that this type of matter involves a process and must be brought up at a board meeting.

McCallum also said that she will speak with any parent who is concerned or upset about this matter.

"We do have an explicit policy regarding our bathroom and locker room facilities. Transgender students may use the restroom or locker room that conforms with the student's gender assigned at birth, or they may use any unisex facilities available to students."