Tensions run high at Wickenburg High over gender-neutral bathrooms

Dozens showed up for a meeting on transgender bathrooms in Wickenburg on Wednesday night, Sept....
Dozens showed up for a meeting on transgender bathrooms in Wickenburg on Wednesday night, Sept. 15.(AZ Family)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 1:54 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WICKENBURG, AZ (3TV/CBS 5 ) - Tensions are running high at Wickenburg High School over gender-neutral bathrooms. So much so it prompted a meeting about it Wednesday evening, Sept. 15. The administration is allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, and while some support it, others are heated about it, and it’s caused threats and violence at school.

“Guys were threatening to shoot up the school if they couldn’t get their bathrooms back. So I didn’t even come to school today because I was scared for my life,” said senior Elliot Wallace.

“I took my daughter out of school today because of possible school shooting threats,” said mom Kristen Holman.

This is all happening over gender-neutral bathrooms. The school administration said they cannot deny transgender students the right to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

Wallace explained why this right is so important to students. “We’re trying to just make people comfortable in their own bodies and make sure people know school is a safe place for them,” Wallace said.

But despite a group there in support of the decision, many people showed up to ask questions, very against this policy. “I feel that if anybody can just walk into a bathroom, that is a huge risk for safety issues,” said Holman.

Holman is worried about her daughter’s safety and wants to see another option. “Have a set bathroom for everybody. Have a girls’ bathroom, have a boys’ bathroom, and have a transgender bathroom,” she said.

Holman was in the majority at the meeting, which bothered some teens. “I think everybody here is just very ignorant and they need to learn more,” said Grayse Larios, who was there from another nearby high school supporting her friends.

The Supreme Court on Monday, Sept. 13, left in place a decision that allowed a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to his gender identity, a victory for the LGBTQ community that has been fearful the high court would take up the case and reverse a lower court opinion.

But echoing Holman’s concerns was Monte Coffman, who suggested a different solution. “I think there is (sic) all kinds of opportunity for misconduct. I think it’s going to be abused. I think students are going to be caught in the crosshairs. Those who don’t feel comfortable are going to be forced into something against their own rights, which in my opinion are being overlooked here,” Coffman said. “Move everything to a single stall use. And you know what, issue solved.”

Staff did say they will look at all single-use bathrooms possibly in the future. A lot of concern at the meeting came from parents who are worried students will pretend to be a certain gender to get into the other bathroom. The administration said if they find evidence of somebody abusing the intent here, they will be disciplined.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.