HCS to continue handling transgender student bathroom use on case-by-case basis

HCS to continue handling transgender student bathroom use on case-by-case basis

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Although the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower court decision allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms they identify with under Title IX, Horry County Schools will continue to wait on the justices for final guidance on transgender bathroom use before changing any protocol, Board Chairman Joe DeFeo said.

"This is going to be decided by the Supreme Court, not by the school board in Horry County," DeFeo said. "Whether we like it or not, that's the way it's going to be heard and that's who is going to make that final decision."

DeFeo said situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis when the school year begins.

"Generally speaking, what's been offered is accommodations to the transgender student," he said. "Anything that goes beyond that is possible and that's up to the superintendent."

He said he thinks it could be several months before the Supreme Court makes a final ruling, but he said the majority of the justices being in favor of the stay could mean a future victory for the school district in Virginia.

"Whether the Supreme Court stands for morals or not, I'll still stand for morals," said Brandon Blair, a youth pastor for Langston Baptist Church in Conway. "I will stand against the Supreme Court and anybody else who stands against morality."

Blair said the stay buys some time to prepare for a fight.

"I would never base my decisions on something that's temporary," he said. "I would always be preparing myself for anything that may come when it comes to my children and protecting them."

He said he thinks the focus is on the minority instead of the majority and he thinks the school district should be more definitive in its protocol for handling bathroom use.

"I believe the school district should draw the lines," Blair said. "They should be clear lines. It shouldn't be iffy."

Lenny, a recent graduate of Carolina Forest High School, said he agrees with the school district handling transgender bathroom use on a case-by-case basis, for right now.

"I hope that one day it won't be needed to be case-by-case and most people won't care where people need to go to the bathroom, but it'll be a while," he said.

He understands the difficulties transgender students face in the school district right now.

Lenny came out as male at school his junior year.

"It was just really alleviating a lot of sadness," he said.

He said he began using the boy's bathroom.

"I didn't want to go into the female bathroom. I did not," he said. "Every time I even looked at it, I just got the biggest sense of dread."

He didn't feel any need to tell administrators about where he was using the bathroom.

"Why do they need to know where I'm urinating? That's for me only," Lenny said.

However, senior year, he started using the nurse's bathroom when the political environment got heated against transgender people. He said the administration was cooperative with that decision.

"Just really inconvenient, but I felt safer," he said.

Lenny said he's excited to see the topic of transgender rights taken to the Supreme Court.

"It's nice to know that people who are running the country care," he said.

Terry Livingston, of TAKEOVER Grand Strand issued the following statement: "Even though the Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to temporarily block the lower court order that cleared the way for transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, we hope that Horry County Schools will continue their case by case approval for our transgender students. We will be monitoring the agendas of the Board of Education for any sign of change."

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.