Students are sounding-off against an Illinois high school that threatened to discipline them for protesting the use of restrooms based on gender identity instead of biological gender.
On March 17, 2023, nearly 150 Waterloo High School students lined up to use the men’s restroom after being told that if they were uncomfortable sharing restrooms with a student of the opposite gender, they could use a “gender-neutral” bathroom.
“On Friday, around 150 students, including myself, stood up for our rights and beliefs,” Anna Demers, a Waterloo High School senior, told the Daily Caller.
“We were told to use a single-stall restroom in the nurse’s office if we were uncomfortable with persons of the opposite genitalia in our restrooms. We all stood in line, to use the restroom, and to make a statement,” Anna added.
“When we tried to stress our safety concerns prior to the events Friday, we were not acknowledged and heard. The events on Friday were peaceful on our part, aside from a few disrespectful individuals, which is inevitable because as teenagers, life is a learning process,” she continued.
After the protests, Supt. Brian Charron notified the school community that students who stood in line were marked tardy from class, and people who continued to protest the issue would receive disciplinary action.
The superintendent wrote that when a biological female began using the boys’ bathroom, several male students told school administration officials they felt uncomfortable. In response, the officials advised the students to use the bathroom in the nurse’s office if they weren’t comfortable sharing a restroom with students of the opposite gender.
Under school district policy, students may use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity rather than their biological gender, the superintendent wrote in an email obtained by the Daily Caller. According to the email, the policy has been in place since 2017 and corresponds with state and federal law.
In 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed legislation requiring all single-occupancy bathrooms to be known as “gender-neutral.”
“We want all parents and students to understand that we will not tolerate another significant disruption in school,” Charron wrote. “Students who participated in this disruption today were marked tardy or absent from class.”
“Students who attempt to repeat today’s actions will be disciplined for attempting to cause a disruption in school,” he added.
Eric Williams, a Waterloo High School senior, told the Daily Caller that students lined up outside the nurse’s bathroom because the administration directed them to do so as a solution.
Williams said the administration violated the student’s constitutional rights to peacefully assemble. He argued that the students got punished for doing what the administration told them to do.
The school district alleged that the students, parents, and those that stood in line waiting to use the restroom made “disparaging comments about transgender students.”
“The students that are involved in the LGBTQ+ community think negatively towards us in all aspects,” Williams told the Daily Caller.
“While we were peacefully waiting in line to use the restrooms the administration told us we could use Friday, we were getting verbally harassed by the members, we were called homophobic and transphobic,” he added.
Pastors from Waterloo IL and surrounding communities prayed over the youth who are standing for truth to ensure they can use a restroom without a member of the opposite sex coming in.
They made their voices heard at the board meeting! pic.twitter.com/TsnnR8ZSZP
— Ryan Cunningham (@rycunni) March 21, 2023
A school board meeting began following the protests against the school’s bathroom policy. Architects from the school district are addressing different ways of changing the men’s urinals for privacy and are considering designs for “gender-neutral” bathrooms.
Students who protested will continue to use the bathroom in the nurse’s office until the district resolves the issue.