A North Carolina school district has voted to allow students to carry pepper spray and mace on school premises, which one school board member claiming that the weapons are necessary for students to be able to defend themselves from transgender students entering bathrooms.
North Carolina's Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education board member Chuck Hughes has justified the decision as a defencive measure for students that he believes will be attacked by transgender students. 'Depending on how the courts rule on bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in.'
After concern was raised about the decision a fellow board member, Travis Allen, argued that the policy shouldn't worry people, justifying the decision by saying that being doused in pepper spray isn't as bad as being attacked with a baseball bat.
'Having been pepper sprayed numerous times and being the school resource officer, the baseball bats that your team brings every day to school is a bigger weapon than a canister of pepper spray, that's my thinking on it.' He told local news station WBTV. 'A chair from the cafeteria is a bigger weapon than a can of pepper spray.'
Yes, you read that correctly, a member of the school board has justified the use of pepper spray on transgender students by saying 'well, there are worse ways to be attacked'. I guess by his logic it's okay to be shot because someone could always set you on fire, which surely must be worse right?
Following the idiocy of these claims and the numerous people who have spoken out against them Hughes has attempted to retract his comments. 'It was a whimsical, inappropriate comment that I regret. I never intended to slur, disrespect or deprive the GLBT students of the rights to which they are entitled. Nor did I suggest that GLBT students were problematic.
'It is the 'straight' perverts within our community that concern me, people who might well take advantage of our students, straight or GLBT, in and out of schools, if the 'experiment' initiated by Charlotte should spread, as it might well if the state loses its legal challenge.'
The Board Chairman Josh Wagner spoke to the Huffington Post about the incident and insisted that the 'decision in no way addressed the issue that Mr Hughes brought up' and that the comments he made were not a factor in the decision on this issue.
Wagner insists that the choice to arm students and encourage them to target transgender individuals was never the main issue, but that they were concerned about the safety of female students travelling to and from school. Despite these claims that discrimination against the transgender community was never the aim, the damage has already been done through the comments they have made.