TEMPLE, Texas — Dozens of students at Temple High School protested Wednesday after a transgender student - who was born male and identifies as female - was denied access to female facilities.
Students planned and organized a silent protest in support of 16-year-old Kendall Tinoco, who took to Instagram on Wednesday, Sept. 22, after she was denied access by a teacher to female restrooms and locker rooms and told she was not "actually a girl."
According to a spokesperson with Temple ISD, the protest happened during the third period; and campus activity has now continued as normal.
Tinoco said she has been using female facilities since the 7th grade and has never been denied access by teachers or staff until earlier this month.
In addition, Tinoco said she told her teacher that she had a form available that would explain her rights as a student, but was still denied access by the teacher and then again by an assistant principal.
“They don’t have a problem with transgender people using their preferred restroom or locker room," said Tinoco. "I overall was really proud to see the LGBTQ people come together and stand for one another.”
The school has the following general guide to assist high school administration with the enrollment of transgender students.
The guidelines consist of meeting with a student, their parent or guardian, and another administrator to review three items:
- Under the Texas Education Code 25.0021, a student must be identified by his or her “legal surname” as it appears on the student's birth certificate or other documented proof of the student's identity, or in a court order that changes the student's name. The District will use the student’s legal name on all official school documentation.
- Students must dress in accordance with the dress code.
- In order to allow privacy for all students, a “gender-neutral” restroom, locker room or changing area, and/or overnight facility (i.e. faculty unisex restrooms or nurse’s office) will be available to any transgender student. If the student requests such private facilities, they should be as least burdensome as possible.
During the protests, officials said additional security and Temple police were on campus for the safety of students and staff.
"Students have the right to peaceful protests," a spokesperson said. "However, if such activities result in student behaviors such as skipping class or leaving a classroom without permission, then these Student Code of Conduct violations will result in consequences as outlined in the Code of Conduct."
News25 will provide more details as they become available.
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