A Pennsylvania school board is reversing a prior decision and choosing now to ban boys from girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, following pressure from parents and students.

Last month, the Perkiomen Valley School Board in Montgomery County voted against a policy that would have required students to use bathrooms that correspond to their biological sex. School board members reversed that decision on Monday, on a narrow 5-4 vote.

In response to the school board’s previous rejection of the policy, Perkiomen Valley high school students staged a walkout. Some 400 students left their classrooms and stood outside school buildings to protest the school board’s decision.

In comments to The Washington Stand, Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for education studies at the Family Research Council, said, “This reversal is significant for many reasons. I regret that it came down to the students themselves to shame the adults into protecting women and girls, but that’s where we are on the timeline apparently.”

She added, “I’m so grateful to these students, their parents, and the school board members who did in the end protect all students with this policy. They will now be treated to relentless retribution from the state leaders in Pennsylvania government and [President Joe] Biden’s Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.”

The new policy defines “sex” as a student’s “biological sex classification based upon chromosomal structure and anatomy at birth” and states:

In all school buildings in this District, restrooms, locker rooms, and showers that are designated for one (1) sex shall be designated for use only by members of that sex. No person shall enter a restroom, locker room, or shower that is designated for the use of the opposite sex.

The policy was first introduced earlier this year, after a father complained that his daughter reported encountering a male student in the girls’ bathroom and expressed fear. School district officials reportedly told the father, Tim Jagger, that nondiscrimination policies meant students could use whatever bathroom corresponds to their “gender identities.”

After a contentious school board meeting last month that lasted four hours, Republican board member Don Fountain cast the tiebreaking vote in favor of rejecting the proposed policy. Later that week, students staged their walkout, drawing attention from national media, including The Washington Stand, Fox News, and the New York Post.

On Monday, school board member Matthew Dorr moved to reconsider the bathroom policy and was seconded by Fountain, who changed his vote to adopt the policy.

During the meeting, board member Rowan Keenan told his colleagues that he never even knew the previous policy allowed students to use opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms based on “gender identity,” noting that he and other conservative board members would have addressed the issue years ago had they been aware.

He alleged that school administrators “intentionally” avoided discussing bathroom-use policies with conservative school board members. Left-leaning board members asked Keenan to explain how teachers are supposed to enforce the new policy.

One asked, “Can you tell me how you know it’s a boy versus how you know it’s a girl in the bathroom, just by looking? Because essentially, these teachers have to be able to enforce this policy.” Keenan, a bearded man with a receding hairline, responded, “I mean, I’ve been identifying as a woman for more than a year.” He was interrupted by other board members telling him that he was “being actually hateful and triggering towards people.” Keenan replied: “I am here to protect women.”

Another policy, introduced by leftist board member Sarah Evans-Brockett to allow students to “use the restroom that corresponds to the gender identity they consistently assert at school,” was rejected at the same board meeting.

Originally published in The Washington Stand

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