In a perplexing move concerning transgender people and their right to access public bathrooms in North Carolina, the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education voted on Monday to allows its student to bring pepper spray on campus.
The board wants kids to carry what they refer to as “defensive sprays” in order to protect themselves from “bathroom perverts” — or in other words, their transgender classmates.
“Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in,” said board member Chuck Hughes.
He was referring to the infamous House Bill 2 (HB2) that dictates transgender people to use the public bathroom that corresponds with the gender they were born with. The law, supported by Gov. Pat McCrory, has not only sparked protests across the country that made several corporations and performers to refuse to work in the state, but has also caused a major rift between the state government and the Department of Justice.
“Having been pepper sprayed numerous times and being a school resource officer, the baseball bats that your baseball team brings everyday to school is a bigger weapon than a canister of pepper spray, that’s my thinking on it,” another board member, Travis Allen, told WBTV defending the decision. “A chair from the cafeteria is a bigger weapon than a can of pepper spray, so that’s my thinking on that.”
However, following the backlash over this potentially disastrous decision, Hughes seemed to change his tune a little bit.
“I was not thinking about the LGBT issue,” he backtracked on Wednesday, noting that he could see teenage boys pretending that their gender identity was female to enter bathrooms “as a joke.”
“Perverts and pedophiles taking advantage of this law in bathrooms was my major concern,” Hughes added.
The board votes next on May 23. Hopefully, by then, Hughes will realize that cons far outweigh any supposed pros and vote to have pepper spray returned to the prohibited list. If the board decided to go with their initial decision, one can only imagine how much of a disaster it could be.
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