On Monday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools  (CMS) Superintendent Ann Clark sent a message to all principals outlining a shift in policy for the 146,000+ students in the state’s 2nd largest school district. When students return in the fall they will have access to the bathroom and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identities. Students will be given the option to be called by the name and pronoun they choose. That chosen gender identity will be honored in restrooms, locker rooms, yearbooks and graduation ceremonies. The district will continue to use the student’s name and gender matching their birth certificate on official school records and transcripts.

CMS Ann ClarkSuperintendent Ann Clark said the policy change was about “courage, understanding and compassion” for transgender students but it is unclear if any input was solicited from parents concerned about student privacy. What is clear is that the district brought in Todd Rosendahl, Director of School Outreach at Time Out Youth to help them write the school policy. Time Out Youth is a Charlotte-based LGBT  support and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth with personal development and social interaction skills. The “Gender Unicorn” among learning tools and policies presented to school staff and principals.

Mary McCray, CMS School Board Chair, said CMS board members stand unanimously behind the district’s new plan.

Gov Pat McCroryGovernor McCrory issued a statement saying, “Instead of providing reasonable accommodations for some students facing unique circumstances, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System made a radical change to their shower, locker room and restroom policy for all students. This curiously-timed announcement that changes the basic expectations of privacy for students comes just after school let out and defies transparency, especially for parents. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System should have waited for the courts to make a decision instead of purposely breaking state law.”

Tami Fitzgerald“Every child deserves a safe space, and it’s our duty as parents to fight for their right to privacy. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s proposed new policy allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms, locker rooms and showers will seriously endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning. The district should continue their current policy to offer accommodations to students that have different preferences without compromising the privacy rights of all other students. CMS Superintendent Ann Clark has chosen to violate the state’s HB 2 law instead of following common sense accommodations and limiting restrooms and locker rooms to members of the same sex for privacy and safety reasons without violating Title IX.” Tami Fitzgerald, NC Values Coalition Executive Director, stated earlier today.

KeepNCSafe is encouraging concerned parents to take these steps to contact CMS:

  1. Contact Char-Meck Board of Education Constituent Services at 980-343-5139 to voice your opposition to this policy.
  2. Call your school’s principal to see how they will protect your child’s safety.
  3. Attend the Next Board Meeting on July 26th at 6pm at the Government Center in Uptown.
  4. Email Your School Board members.