While a girl was using the restroom, seven high school boys entered the facilities and blocked the door, refusing to let her leave. Soon after the incident, the school ultimately decided to suspend the girl — but people are divided on whether the school’s decision was right or wrong.
After one of the most controversial and confusing cases in bathroom history, an Alaska school district is in hot water. The incident began when a group of male students at the North Pole High School wanted to protest the school’s decision to allow a biologically female student, who is transitioning into a male, to use their restroom. In an effort to get the administration’s attention, seven boys entered the girls bathroom to take a selfie.
Upon entering the restroom, the boys encountered a teen girl who was using the facilities. This is the moment things came to a head. When the girl, who remains unnamed, attempted to leave, she says that the male students refused to let her exit, blocking the door. According to her sister, Savannah Moisan, the girl then kneed one of the boys in the groin, prompting the others to allow her to leave the bathroom. Now, she’s being punished for her response, CBS Local reports.
According to Daily News-Miner, the Fairbanks School District suspended the girl for “using too much force” during the altercation, which required that the male student seek medical attention. The girl was reportedly dismissed from class and banned from going to prom, but all seven of the boys involved were allowed to attend the big dance despite being disciplined for entering the girls bathroom.
The district first conducted an internal investigation into the girl’s claim that she felt threatened by the boys. While she says that she feared for her safety, the boys assert that they merely wanted to take a selfie in the girls bathroom. The school concluded that there was “no evidence” that they had threatened her in any way.
“Based on the results of the investigation, school administration issued discipline on April 8 to both the female student and to seven male students involved in the incident,” Walker wrote to the News-Miner, in response to an email inquiry. “The male students were disciplined for attempting to enter the restroom. There was not evidence that the male students were threatening any student or using any type of force toward other students.”
The protest began when a group of male students became upset over the school’s move to allow a biologically female student to use their restroom and changing room with them. The boys felt uncomfortable with having to change in front of a transgender male. One of the boys made a call to action, spelling out their plan to take a photo in the girls bathroom.
“Tomorrow identify as a women and use the women’s bathroom if you want this shit to end,” read the caption of a Snapchat screenshot, which was later posted to Facebook. “Don’t do it to be an asshole we are doing it to boycott this bullshit.”
The girl’s sister explained that she was told she had violated school policy against using “excessive force.” She told The Guardian that her family will be seeking an appeal of the expulsion. However, Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Superintendent Karen Gaborik doubled down on the school’s decision.
“We do not advocate physical or psychological violence as a means to attain safety,” she said. “The entire school community needs to work together to ensure that all students feel welcomed, safe and are able to learn and thrive. We recognize that parents, students and members of our community feel strongly about these issues, but advocating for the use of violence does not contribute to a safe learning environment.”
The case has raised a complex issue with multiple perspectives involved. On one hand, many believe that the girl had the right to defend with force because she felt threatened by a group of male peers in her bathroom. On the other hand, many also sympathize with the boys’ concerns over being forced to share an intimate space with a biological female.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s safe to say that this probably wasn’t the best way to protest such a sensitive problem. Unfortunately, this political issue has been thrust upon children who aren’t equipped to handle its complexity. What else could we expect but for chaos to ensue?