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Georgia school district reverses transgender-friendly bathroom policy after death threats

A Georgia school district has reversed its transgender-friendly bathroom policy after board members, staff and students were threatened, the school board said in a news release.

Pickens County School Board changed its policy this week, citing “death threats, student harassment and vandalism of school property” in the news release.

The policy had allowed transgender students to use restrooms that aligned with their gender identity instead of a single-stall, gender-neutral bathroom, according to CNN affiliate WSB.

The board voted to reverse the policy in an emergency meeting called by Superintendent Carlton Wilson, WSB reported.

“The District understands and acknowledges that it has the responsibility to protect its staff and students. However, the District has concerns that it may not be able to meet these recently increased demands,” the school board’s release said, adding that the reversal is in place until law enforcement and safety professionals can be adequately consulted.

Parents had raised concerns about the bathroom policy at an October 14 school board meeting.

The county board of education noted in an earlier news release that a transgender student had “requested to use the restroom which that student identifies with and the administration has permitted that use.”

Multiple parents at the local high school expressed concerns over the administration’s decision to permit the student to access the restroom and believed that it would jeopardize the “safety of the high school students,” the news release said.

Wilson said that part of the decision to adopt a policy that allowed transgender students to use the restrooms of their identity came from a federal court ruling in Florida, Adams vs. St. John’s County, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A Florida student sued for the right to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity instead of a gender-neutral bathroom, the AJC said. The ruling was made in the 11th Circuit, so it applies to Georgia and Alabama as well as Florida.

The Florida school filed an appeal that is scheduled to make oral arguments in December, the AJC reported.

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