A group of public school students in Oregon skipped class earlier this week to stage a protest against President Obama's directive that public schools allow students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity, not their birth sex.
Students and parents from Hedrick Middle School staged a protest Monday against the directive, arguing that the federal government's policy of giving students who are boys according to their birth sex access to girls bathrooms and changing rooms, and vice versa, endangers their safety.
In an interview with local news station KTVL channel 10, one student stated that a major reason for their objection was the concern that boys will use the directive as an excuse to enter girls' restrooms.
"I feel like they were just using it more to their benefit of just kind of being perverts more rather than actually using it because they were uncomfortable with going into the bathroom of birth," said the student.
A parent present at the protest told KTVL that "one of our girls was crying because she didn't feel safe going into the girl's bathroom or locker room."
Last week, Obama issued a directive to public schools saying they must allow transgender students to use the restroom of their chosen gender identity, which could change day-by-day, rather than their biological sex.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News on Monday, Obama argued that such a move was necessary to protect the 0.3 percent of transgendered individuals who live in the United States, most of whom are adults, not children.
"We're talking about kids, and anybody who's been in school, been in high school, who's been a parent, I think should realize that kids who are sometimes in the minority — kids who have a different sexual orientation or are transgender — are subject to a lot of bullying, potentially they are vulnerable," said Obama.
"I think that it is part of our obligation as a society to make sure that everybody is treated fairly, and our kids are all loved, and that they're protected and that their dignity is affirmed."
Several states including Texas and North Carolina have denounced Obama's actions and refuse to follow the federal government's directive.
"I do not think it is appropriate for teenage boys and girls to share the same bathroom. I don't think it is appropriate for male coaches and male teachers to have access to girls' locker rooms and showers while the young girls are naked and exposed," said North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest in a statement.
"North Carolina public schools in receipt of the president's letter are reminded that there is a binding state law on the books governing bathroom policy and the president's non-binding directive is merely his attempt to push his version of a social policy on our state with no constitutional authority to do so."
A couple days after the protest, a group of students, largely from North Medford High School, staged a counterdemonstration at Hedrick Middle in support of the directive.
"The students supporting transgender rights say going to the bathroom and feeling comfortable is a basic human right," reported KTVL.