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Berkeley County School Board seeks legal counsel on transgender bathroom debate

The Berkeley County School Board decided Tuesday night it would continue to allow transgender students to use the bathroom with which they identify on a case by case basis.

The board said it will continue to seek more definitive information from the federal government after determining that a definitive decision was not reached by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

The decision came after several people on both sides of the issue spoke, including two transgender students.

"Before I came out at Berkeley, nobody knew so I didn't want to compromise that," Berkeley High School sophomore Sera Guerry said.

"I identify as a girl," she explained. "I was born biologically male but I identify as Sera Guerry, a 16 year old girl."

Guerry said when she found out last month Berkeley High School was going to be open to transgender bathroom use, she was excited. She said it was one of the happiest days of her life.

She said she suffered from undue stress and angst prior to the decision.

"Needless to say I have suffered greatly from these restrictions both mentally and socially," she said before a room of hundreds at Tuesday's Berkeley County School Board meeting.

Cole Dowd, a senior at Berkeley Middle College High School, also spoke on behalf of transgender teens.

"It scares me that transgender students are targeted by a daily basis and they're not just harmed they're killed," Dowd said.

"I was outed by a student's parent on the news," Cole said. "Through that I received a lot of harassment. I received, you know, problems when I was using the restroom - when I was going through the hall."

Dowd has fully transitioned. He even legally changed his name at age 14.

"You can be yourself and love yourself and be able to transition into someone you can grow and love," he said.

Dowd said becoming male gave him what he always wanted - a normal life.

"This is me," he said.

Robyn Lambert was also at the school board meeting. She argued for the safety of her grandchildren. She said she wants the federal government to come up with a clearer definition of transgender.

"You can have a heterosexual male that wants to identify as a woman and dress as a woman, go into the girl's room," she said. "He's in there doing what? We don't know."

Lambert said she isn't against homosexuality. She's just nervous what allowing the transgender population to use the bathroom of their choice could do for child predators.

It's why she said she believes the transgender bathroom debate doesn't belong in a school board room.

"What I feel is that it's an adult decision. It should not be in the primary school system," Lambert said.

Guerry said the Berkeley County School District reached out to her family just a few weeks ago with the news she could use the girl's bathroom. She hopes the board will not retract that decision.

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