Restroom policy changes at Pennridge School District divides parents, students

In Bucks County there is controversy over school restrooms at Pennridge School District.

On Wednesday night, the school board heard public comment from over 20 people who were divided on the issue of which restrooms students can use based on their gender identity.

Currently, students must use restrooms based on their biological sex or go to a single-user restroom.

"Do we honestly think making gender-neutral bathrooms will resolve these issues? Absolutely not. It will be a free for all and encourage additional chaos and potential bad behavior," said Caitlyn Boger.

The restroom policy Penn Ridge School Board is considering would consist of multi-user restrooms based on biological sex, multi-user restrooms based on gender identity and single-user restrooms.

Laura Foster of the nonprofit Ridge Network is a parent and educational advocate. She said the district’s policies are violating the rights of students who identify as LGBTQ.

"Anytime you’re segregating children based on a protected class which gender identity, gender expression falls under Title IX, under sex, that you are enforcing segregation in the schools and enforcing discrimination," said Foster.

School Board President Ron Wurz said during the meeting new Title IX regulations go into effect in August which substantially change the language around restrooms and transgender students.

The school board will have further discussions on the restroom policy at the next meeting on May 13, but could choose to do nothing with the proposal and move to retire the current policy by August 1 in order to be in compliance.

"Title IX is very important to the school district. We need to be in compliance with it. We receive over $6 million dollars in funding every year from the federal government. One of the requirements is we follow Title IX," said Wurz.