Wednesday, May 11, 2016

North Carolina School Board Passes Rule Changes that Allow Students to Carry Mace On-Campus, Citing Trans People in Public Bathrooms // Now Backpedaling Following Public Outcry

So this happened while I was busy working today. A story broke involving the Rowan-Salisbury School Board of Education from Salisbury, NC. The RSS board was worried that their students were unsafe on school property, so passed a policy that allows students to carry pepper spray and mace on the school campuses. It seems that they were concerned that students would forget to leave their mace in their vehicles and get in trouble. Which implies that the schools in Salisbury, NC, are unsafe to their students.

They also voted to allow students to bring shaving razors on school grounds. Because you never know when you'll need to shave between classes.

But the story made national news because RSS board member Chuck Hughes implied that students could use mace on any trans students:
Board member Chuck Hughes was in favor of the sprays on campuses, saying that in his mind, they were purely defensive. He also referenced HB2, saying that the sprays might be useful

“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,” he said.
Hughs quickly backtracked, claiming that he was thinking that female students would use their mace on misbehaving cis-gendered teen boys and "perverts:"
“The LGBT issue has never been a problem to my knowledge,” Hughes said. “People have a different sexual identity, they go about their business. You don’t even know that a transgender is in your bathroom. They’re not there to create havoc. But perverts are.” 

Hughes said he was not homophobic and that the LGBT community had rights to be protected. “They’re not the ones to look out for,” he said. “My statement was misinterpreted and when I hear other people talking about it, I can see how it was misinterpreted.” 

He said he could see teenage boys pretending that their gender identity was female to enter bathrooms “as a joke.”
The RSS board has indicated that they have listened to negative public feedback about this policy change and will re-think it. Basically, they realized that there will be major liability issues if they allow students to run around campus carrying mace and pepper spray.

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