An Ohio pastor, one of over 100 clergy speaking out against a transgender bathroom policy in a school district, said he was “devastated” about the potential risk to children’s safety.
“[I’m]… really devastated about what is taking place,” he said about a Shelby City School District policy which allowed students to use a bathroom which corresponds to their gender identity.
“We’re finding out that many of them won’t even go to the bathroom all day long because they are afraid to go to the restrooms,” the pastor said about the transgender bathroom policy.
After parents discovered the policy, clergy throughout Ohio signed onto a letter stating, “we will not sacrifice the safety and privacy of children on the altar of political correctness.”
“It is our understanding… [that] concerned parents have compiled statements from at least ten different female students who feel unsafe using school restrooms,” it continued.
Pastor Cooper has been one of the most vocal signatories.
“I was approached, would I be willing to lead and do something about this,” Cooper said. “And of course, after me finding out what is here and having kids here and grandkids here, I looked into it.”
Cooper said that he was against the transgender bathroom policy on the basis of protecting children.
“We’re not against the LGBT community. There’s no hate here whatsoever. We want our community to be safe. We want our kids to be safe. It’s not really about church. It’s not really about the adults. It’s about keeping our kids safe,” he said.
The pastor added that he has heard from children in the community who are afraid to use the bathroom because of the policy.
“The president of the board… [said] that the… kids aren’t saying nothing. Well, we have found out the kids are scared to say anything. It doesn’t do any good. And so they’re not listening to the children,” he said.
“In all the school systems, probably the most unsecured areas are your restrooms, your shower rooms and your locker rooms where there can’t be any monitoring or cameras,” the pastor and grandfather added.
A 12-year-old girl spoke out at a Shelby school board meeting last month.
“I do not want to walk into a restroom and be scared about who I will see in there,” she said. “Girls spend more time in the restroom and are more vulnerable.”
The pastor also spoke out at the meeting.
“If you cannot protect the security and privacy of our students, I am calling for you (board members) to resign. We could easily get the churches to start another school and take our kids out of Shelby schools. This is our town too,” the pastor said.
It was unclear exactly when the policy was implemented. Some parents have said they were not notified about the policy when it was put into place.
“I think somewhere down the line, we have to realize communication is what starts it and this is what we’re doing right now. We are bringing it to the attention of our community,” the pastor said.
“They need to know that there is somebody out here that will listen to them, that will love them. We’re not here to judge. We’re here to love them,” he said.
“Being a young person was always hard. There’s a lot of changes to go through… We’ve made it harder for them.”