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No Charges Filed in Evans High Peeping Allegations; Separate Bathroom Provided for Transgender Student

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(STORY UPDATED TO INCLUDE INFORMATION FROM AN EMAIL FROM THE COLUMBIA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION SPOKESPERSON)

No charges have been filed in regard to peeping allegations against a transgender student at Evans High School, according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department, and school administrators say they are providing a single-occupancy restroom for the transgender student to avoid future accusations.

Sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris said no charges were filed because of conflicting statements.

A 14-year-old girl made allegations last Wednesday that the transgender student was peeking through the gaps in a bathroom stall while she was inside. The student said it happened on Aug. 9 and she waited nine days to report it out of fear of being labeled transphobic, according to a sheriff’s report.

But the transgender female denied the allegations. The transgender student said “she is being bullied and people are making false claims due to her being transgender,” according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office report. “She stated she would never touch another girl or try to watch them through the gaps in the stalls. She also stated due to the false rumors of her peeking into the stalls, she has been targeted and is fearful that someone might hurt her,” the report continued.

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The girl who made the allegations told authorities that the transgender student had also asked to touch another classmate’s breast and then tried to pull her pants down. That student confirmed the allegation, saying the transgender student “reached towards her breast in the classroom, at which time she swatted their hand away,” a sheriff’s report says.

But the transgender student said she was “trying to look at her necklace,” the report says.

An email from Abbigail Remkus, the Columbia County Board of Education’s spokesperson, said “The school contacted the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, due to the nature of the allegations, in addition to contacting the parents of all students involved. The result of the sheriff’s office investigation revealed no charges would be filed. The school’s administration have and will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of all students.”

Meanwhile, EHS administrators are making accommodations for the transgender student to “prevent any further allegations.”

The allegations were reportedly posted on SnapChat, the sheriff’s report says.

The controversy comes as the federal appeals court in Atlanta on Monday vacated a ruling that said transgender high school students must be granted access to bathrooms that correspond with their identity.

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According to media reports, the case will now be heard by the entire 12-member 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sets precedents for Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

In July, a three-judge panel ruled 2-1 in favor of a transgender student who sought access to the boys’ bathroom at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

In his dissent, Chief Judge Bill Pryor said there was nothing unlawful under the Constitution or federal law about a policy that separates school bathrooms on the basis of sex. The school district’s policy “substantially advances its objective to protect children from exposing their unclothed bodies to the opposite sex,” Pryor said.

It is possible the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately hear the case because there is a split in the circuits. The federal appeals courts in Chicago and Richmond, Va., previously issued decisions that permit transgender students to use bathrooms that match their identity.


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Staff writer Skyler Q. Andrews contributed to this story.

8 COMMENTS

  1. So, does this boy just become “transgender” because he simply says he identifies as a girl, or do the authorities require some sort of professional medical corroboration? I mean, if they just take the kid’s word for it, then what’s to keep any kid from bouncing back and forth in identities in order to gain access to an opposite sex’s bathroom/locker room for a cheap peak?
    Also, wonder why there’s no word here on what the parents had to say…on either side? If that were my daughter, you’d be hearing my side of it.

  2. “Evans High School administrators are providing a single-occupancy restroom to a transgender student after allegations by classmates of peeping.”

    Leaving aside for the moment the wisdom of this policy, I wish the article was more clear about what “providing’ means in this case. It sounds like the county built a special facility just for this student, which is likely not the case. My guess is that somewhere on campus is a single-occupancy restroom which students ordinarily don’t have permission to use, and the school began allowing this student to use it.

    Would any future reporting on this clarify this to make sure readers don’t jump to conclusions?

  3. I taught a young man many years ago who was very effeminate but identified as male. During the school year, he discovered that he had been born as a hermophrodite and his parents decided that he would be a male. However, when he had some blood work done, he discovered that he was actually a she. You can imagine what a traumatic experience that was, not only for him, but for all of us. The following school year, he identified as a she, and if you didn’t know him before, you would never imagine that she used to be a he. The issue of which bathroom she would use came up, and the principal decided that she would use the boys bathroom. The principal also would suspend her for being dressed as a female, even though she was hormonally a female. Nowadays there would have been all kinds of lawsuits for discrimination for this. I had a lot of sympathy for that student back then, because it was not her fault for being born with both sets of genitalia. But these “dude looks like a lady” (like the current asst. health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine) fellas are a totally different situation. Just getting up one day and saying you feel like a woman today so you can have access to females that other men don’t have is pretty strange and potentially dangerous for women in general. Glad they decided to give him/her their separate bathroom space.

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