Over 100 Granite State students banded together to conduct a Friday walk out to protest a school board district-wide policy that bans urinals over ‘gender identity’ concerns.
The united act of defiance came in response to the Milford, New Hampshire School Board voting in favor of closing off urinals, limiting “the number of people in a restroom to the number of stalls,” WMUR reported. The board’s decision resulted in urinals “being covered up with trash bags” at schools within the New England district:
Milford High School students walk out to protest new restroom restrictions https://t.co/nRJNMkorCp
— WMUR TV (@WMUR9) February 10, 2023
The outlet reported that male students “felt particularly targeted” by the policy. Numerous students said they felt voiceless; having no say in the outcome of the vote.
At least one student carried a sign that read: “We want urinals,” according to ABC News. The Friday demonstrations lasted as long as 45 minutes after the initial walk-out.
“Nobody asked for this,” student Autumn Diveley told WMUR. “Nobody but the few parents who complained to the school board asked for this.”
The school board decided a few days before the Friday walkout to prohibit students at Milford Middle School and Milford High School from using urinals or shared spaces in locker rooms. https://t.co/ysw9j22GIu
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) February 12, 2023
The picketing pupils were reportedly joined by a handful of teachers as well as administrators.
The policy is the apparent result of a compromise, following a contested Monday night board meeting that included a proposal to change the already-in-place district bathroom policy – which presently permits students to use any of the bathrooms that best align with their chosen gender identity, according to coverage from earlier in the week by WMUR. (RELATED: The Transgender Bathroom Question Is Likely Heading To The Supreme Court)
That proposal sought to change the current district restroom rules so that students could only enter the lavatory that matches their sex so as assigned at birth.
Another student, Lena Silva, told the outlet that “As a female, I don’t think it’s safe to have males in our bathroom.” (RELATED: ‘He Just Went Crazy’: Video Shows Student Going Berserk, Throwing Teacher To The Ground)
Board member Noah Boudreault told ABC News that he proposed the urinal prohibition policy as an attempt at a compromise. The district restroom policy changes also restrict students from changing in front of one another in a locker-room-like setting.
Boudreault commented on the student protests to the local news outlet, saying he supports their right to picket.
“I have heard from a great number of the students on the matter and want them to know that I hear their voices. The board’s decision was in part to collect data and make adjustments if necessary,” he added.
Milford School Board Secretary Joseph Vitulli suggested that the move was rushed and that the student turn-out shows the need for further board deliberation geared toward reconsideration.
“My personal opinion is that the students’ actions speak for how they feel about the bathroom situation and that it’s clear the board must deal with this issue ASAP,” Vitulli said. “The idea of immediately changing was not well thought out by the board, and we need to fix the situation.”
Student Jay Remella told WMUR he knew no one that lobbied for the change: “It was solely made by the school board and a parent complaint,” he told the outlet.
The next school board meeting is set for February 20, yet the Milford Public Schools Superintendent Christi Mishaud hinted that it is possible that the restrictions could be rolled back before-hand.