CMS anti-bullying guidelines stir emotions from parents

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dueling protests over the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools anti-bullying guidelines began Tuesday night prior to the district’s meeting inside the Government Center uptown.

The board chair made clear their policies follow the law and are to ensure all students, including transgender students, feel safe.

"CMS obeys the law," Board Chair Mary McCrary said.

The policy allowing students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity followed a court ruling in April and was recently put on hold after the Supreme Court issued a stay in a similar case earlier this month.

The anti-bullying guidelines were developed for and delivered solely to school principals to provide guidance to help them.

The guidelines recommend that staff members refer to children as students and scholars as opposed to boys and girls, and allow students to participate in extracurricular activities based on their gender identity.

Despite McCray's statement, parents had a lot to say.

"The real issue here is a radical political agenda and the ceiling has become the floor," Charlotte resident David Benham said. “At first, it was acceptance, and then it became appreciation, and then it became celebration, and now it's become forced participation."

People also thanked the board for its work.

"I can tell you firsthand, a 7-year-old would not choose this on themselves,” Jay Norris said. “It is how they feel; it is who they are deep down inside. Thank you for everything that you’re doing."

McCray also said there's not a plan or curriculum for transgender issues and the guidelines now in place for the school year are intended strictly for principals.

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