Local mom says proposed Mo. bill puts transgender students in harm’s way

The Trump Administration on Wednesday lifted the Obama White House transgender bathroom directive, citing "legal confusion," the Associated Press said.

President Obama ordered schools to allow students to use the bathroom that aligned with their gender identity, instead of the one that matched their biological sex.

Schools that did not comply faced losing federal funding.

Critics called it government overreach and believed it could put women and children at risk in public restrooms.

A similar bill is being debated in Missouri.

One local mom says that bill is actually taking away the ability for schools to work with transgender students, including her daughter.

“The best thing about being a girl is not pretending to be a boy,” said Avery Jackson.

“She was four years old when she told us that she's a girl on the inside,” Avery’s mom Debi Jackson said.

Nine-year-old Avery and her mom testified in Jefferson City in front of a Missouri Senate committee Tuesday on Senate Bill 98 -- a state law that proposes students should only use the bathroom of the sex they were born.

“We wanted the people on the committee to see that we are all normal families, living our lives in Missouri. Our kids are normal kids; they are not scary; they are not predators, and by passing a law like this, they would actually be put directly in harm's way,” Debi explained.

As the parents of a transgender girl, Jackson said they always wanted to build Avery’s confidence and not settle for less than equal rights.

“There are a lot of kids who are attending school stealth, which means that no one is aware that they're transgender. This law could potentially out them, and put them in direct harm of harassment or bullying,” Debi said.

Even at nine years old, Avery said it's hard to understand why anyone should tell you to use a bathroom for a gender you don't identify with.

“Because it's not who you are,” Avery said.

Jackson said the proposal they testified against in Missouri is strictly about bathrooms.

She said the Trump Administration's changes aren't just for bathrooms. It applies to other things too, like education and activities.

She said not much will change at the moment, because they are guidelines, not laws. But it could affect students in the future.

“It's just going to actually confuse more schools about what they should or shouldn't do, how they should or shouldn't treat students,” Debi added.

While Missouri Senate Bill 98 is still up in the air, Jackson said if it does pass, they will definitely be back to oppose it.