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Education
An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

Transgender Rules Under Attack Inside, Outside CMS Board Meeting

CMS's new rules on how teachers should handle transgender students has angered some community members. A group organized by the NC Values Coalition spoke at Tuesday night's school board meeting and protested before it. 

Heavy rain did not stop a group of parents and faith leaders from speaking out against the new rules. They mostly focused on a rule the district has decided to put on hold, giving transgender students their choice of bathroom and locker room. CMS parent Lori Dale was one of about 30 protesters who gathered before the meeting. 

"Each one of us needs to understand that by giving up the right to privacy in our bathrooms and locker rooms will result in deleterious effects that may impact you and your loved ones," said Dale.

A group of people who support the rules gathered around the protesters. At several points, arguments broke out between them. 

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Credit Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools
CMS board chair Mary McCray said a lot of misinformation has been spread about the rules regarding transgender students.

Inside the government center, CMS board chair Mary McCray opened the meeting's public comment portion, saying a lot of misinformation has been spread about the rules. The district has begun training teachers on how to handle transgender students, including what names and pronouns to use when addressing them.

"There has not ever been and will not be a plan or curriculum for CMS students on transgender issues," said McCray. 

Many speakers recited Bible verses to support their opposition to the rules.

"The real issue here is a radical political agenda. At first, it was acceptance and, now, it's becoming forced participation. So, ask yourselves, 'Where does it stop?'" said David Benham.

"Any policy that allows students to use the bathroom of their choice will have irreversible effects on the safety of CMS students," said parent Kenn Huston.

Some spoke in favor of the rules.

"It’s not political. It’s about protecting our most vulnerable students. The aggressive rhetoric I’ve heard here tonight reinforces just how important these anti-bullying policies are," said Matt Nurkin, a parent of a CMS transgender student. 

School board members did not discuss the rules regarding transgender students since that was not on the agenda.