NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. (WPTA21) - Emotions are running high at an elementary school, where some parents are riled about a restroom policy.
They are upset because a child who was born a boy, but identifies as a girl, is being allowed to use the girl's bathroom.
A group of parents connected to Manchester Elementary School are raising concerns after learning in late November that school officials were letting a first grade transgender student use the girl's restroom.
"And I was really upset, because no one was told in the community, " said Nate Gephart, who had four girls in the local public schools.
He and his wife have pulled their two youngest daughters out, and are home-schooling them because of concerns about the restroom practice at the school.
Dozens of parents showed up dressed in white at the December 10th school board meeting, intent on getting the school to reserve boys bathrooms for boys and girls bathrooms for girls.
Both of the transgender child's mothers and some of their supporters were at the meeting as well.
Gephart and other parents want school leaders to provide private bathroom facilities for transgender students, and longer term, to build some individualized shower stalls as a way to make sure no one feels uncomfortable or threatened.
"I know there are people out there that are going to say we are haters. I love my kids, therefore I want to protect my kids. I love the children in this community, therefore I want to protect the kids in this community," Gephart said.
Manchester Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Teresa Gremaux says federal law is dictating how they handle this situation.
Dr. Gremaux released a statement, saying that under Title IX, transgender students must be allowed to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
The statement goes on to say that Manchester Schools accommodates any student who is uncomfortable with such practices by providing an alternate facility to use.
It wraps up by saying, "This is a topic that many school districts in the country are confronting and Manchester Community Schools continues to monitor the status of certain lawsuits that are pending in the federal court system for further guidance on this issue."
Manchester Schools is inviting the public to workshops on the issue, scheduled to take place December 18th.