HILLSBORO, MO (KPLR) - Students staged a walk-out even though a transgender student at Hillsboro High School has decided to drop out of P.E. class and quit changing in the girls locker room. It is an issue that educators across the country are dealing with.
Students walked out for almost two hours. Some against what the transgender student has been doing, others supporting her. Lila Perry was sequestered in a school office during the walkout. She feels like what`s she`s doing is important.
"It wasn`t too long ago white people were saying I don`t feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with a black person and history repeats itself." said Lila Perry.
Close to 200 students used their right of free speech to express both displeasure and support of Lila Perry. She is a transgender student, who until recently, has been changing for P.E. class in the girls bathroom even though she is still physically male.
Jeff Childs, a parent of two school age children, drove from farming to have his voice heard on a Hillsboro street corner. "I feel these girls have a right to their own privacy. Without the privacy they have nothing."
The issue attracted a huge turnout at last week`s school board meeting.
"I find it offensive because Lila has not went through any procedure to become female, putting on a dress and putting on a wig is not transgender to me." said student Sophie Beel.
"I think this is pure and simple bigotry I think they are using their claim they are uncomfortable, to target me a transgender woman." said transgender student Lila Perry.
"She is a human and she has human rights as everyone else." said student Hayley Reezes.
Perry says she dropped P.E. because she didn't feel comfortable with the other girls and she was concerned about her safety. However, Lila Perry says she gives the school administration a 9 on a 1-10 scale for making her feel safe, welcomed and loved.
School officials issued a statement that says they will promote tolerance and the district accepts all students regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
As for the students right to free speech, it was limited. Any of them out of class for more than two hours could face an in school suspension.