Matt Stewart, a father in Howell, Michigan, pulled his three sons of out Southwest Elementary School because a transgender boy, who was born a girl, recently used a stall in the boys' bathroom (video below).
"My 9-year-old son informed us that there was a girl in the bathroom with him," Stewart told WXYZ.
"There was conversation with my 9-year-old about standing closer to the urinals," Stewart said of a conversation between a staff member in the bathroom at the time and his son.
Stewart called the school and asked why parents were not notified about the policy or involved in setting the policy.
"As parents, we decided that we were not going to force our children to make the decision between confusion, humiliation and embarrassment," Stewart said.
The school superintendent said parents were not notified about the policy until Stewart went to the media, notes WDIV.
The policy change is in accordance with a well-publicized directive by the Obama administration on May 13 that extends sex discrimination protection to transgender students under Title IX, a federal education law.
The school mentioned the federal directive and what it meant in a statement to parents and the media:
With respect to restrooms, the government stated that transgender students must be allowed to access those facilities 'consistent with their gender identity.' Any student who desires additional privacy in light of this directive may, however, make use of individual-user restrooms.
This is a new and rapidly developing area of law. Howell Public Schools intends to comply with its legal obligations in this, as well as all other, respects. Measures will, therefore, be implemented consistent with this guidance in a way which ensures the safety, privacy, and dignity of all involved.
Dr. Carnigee Truesdale-Howard, a pediatric psychologist at a local hospital, told WXYZ that some people have a false belief that being transgender is a choice, and she said that parents should "put aside their fears and anxieties, and maybe educate themselves a little bit about what transgender is and go from there."
Stewart said his son was informed at school that he could use a single bathroom if he chose to do so, but the dad countered: "I think there needs to be a solution where every child is comfortable."
School board president Michael Henshaw told the Detroit Free Press in a written statement: "It does not pertain to an immediate threat to the public safety of the district. It may also involve FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) issues, which limit the content of information that the district is permitted to release."
FERPA governs the privacy of a student's educational and disciplinary records.
Stewart told the newspaper that school district superintendent Erin MacGregor "took ownership" for "the final decision on this matter -- allowing students to use the bathroom of their choosing."
"This was [decided] quietly, behind closed doors," Stewart added.
The Obama administration has been sued by 11 states over the transgender directive.