Transgender High School Student Faces Controversy In Warwick

May 5, 2016

Credit WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Some Warwick residents are protesting a transgender student using the girls' locker room at Pilgrim High School. The debate has been playing out over social media.

Nearly 300 comments followed a Facebook post about the student, with some commenters claiming she’s making other female students feel uncomfortable.  

The student identifies as female.

Warwick Superintendent of Schools Phil Thornton said the school has no plans to stop the student from using the locker room, despite receiving emails and phone calls questioning the policy and asking why parents weren't notified.

“I think the answer always is we’re going to honor the privacy of all of our students and follow the law,” said Thornton. “And the law says students can go to the bathroom in which they identify with.”

Thornton said the school is looking into whether additional curtains are needed to ensure privacy in the stalls inside the girls' locker room.

Rhode Island state law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, but does not mention use of specific school facilities. State education officials say they are preparing to issue guidance to school districts about transgender policy.