Hillsboro, Ore. may be close to home at Pacific University but the city name has a very different meaning in Missouri. The Midwestern state has a Hillsboro of its own that is currently a hub of controversy. Transgender student Lila Perry of Hillsboro High School, is one of many cases of
dispute over rules when it comes to bathrooms and locker rooms.
When the 17-year-old senior began publicly identifying as female, even the conservative small town was accepting. But when this identity led her to use female restrooms and changing rooms, riots ensued. Students conducted a walkout in protest. Parents were calling administrators and showing up with less than positive words to say at board meetings.
Gender and sex is not the same thing. A person can identify as a gender without their anatomy matching accordingly.
This fact makes some people uncomfortable, school administrators included. To accommodate for transgender students, many schools have implemented curtains in the locker rooms as both
shower and changing privacy stations.
Issues arise when schools like Township High
in Iowa implement these options as mandatory for transgender students to utilize. An unnamed student there took the case to court when she was given the option to use either the unisex restrooms or the privacy station. It is, under the Civil Rights Act, illegal to make school policies single out specific students.
It is discrimination. Everyone in school should have the ability to learn, grow and participate equally. Forcing one student to be removed from an area of participation is not right. Accommodations can and have successfully been made in schools to ensure privacy for those who choose it without forcing the option upon any single student. School is supposed to be a learning environment, not a prison.