Temple High students walk out in act of solidarity with transgender student

Teenager allegedly denied access to female facilities at school
News 10 received several photos of the walkout at Temple High School Wednesday morning.  We...
News 10 received several photos of the walkout at Temple High School Wednesday morning. We blurred the students' faces for privacy reasons.(Courtesy Photos)
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 11:52 AM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Dozens of students at Temple High School walked out of class Wednesday morning in an act of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community after a transgender student revealed she recently had to change in a janitor’s room after being denied access to female facilities.

“I am a trans female and they never had a problem with me using female restrooms or female locker rooms until a few weeks ago,” said Kendall Tinoco, “I was really proud to see all of the transgender LGBTQ people come together and stand for one another.”

Tinoco, who said she has been using female restrooms at Temple ISD schools since the 7th grade, took to social media to let people know about her recent experience at Temple High. Her post went viral and inspired the students who participated in Wednesday’s walkout.

Videos and photos sent to KWTX News 10 show several students waving the pride flag and displaying signs with messages in support of LGBTQ+ students. Some students chanted “trans lives matter.”

The Temple Independent School District acknowledged the walkout, saying several students “participated in a peaceful protest this morning during third period.”

Kendall Tinoco
Kendall Tinoco(Megan Vanselow)

A student who participated in the walkout said she was proud of the show of support for the LGBTQ+ community. “It got pretty crowded and they told us to go outside. So we went outside and we chanted that trans lives matter and that we wanted to be heard,” said Kaijha Johnson, 16.

Johnson said she was discouraged by acts committed by those who did not support their cause. “There was a lot of fights that happened. A lot,” she said, “It was peaceful, but it started getting rowdy when people who weren’t supporting our cause started to throw water on us and coffee.”

The school district reassured parents additional security and Temple Police officers were on campus “to help ensure the safety of all staff and students.”

“Our school resource officers, along with additional security, remained on campus out of an abundance of caution to monitor the situation to ensure the demonstration remained peaceful,” Temple Police said in a statement.

In regards Tinoco’s concerns, Temple ISD Public Information Officer Jon Wallin said, “campus administration met with the student and parent last week when this initial concern was raised by the student.”

Wallin further said the administration, the student and the parent had previously reviewed the Enrollment of Transgender Students policy document and, together, “discussed a plan to address the student’s needs.”

“Temple ISD has followed the procedure outlined in this document since 2019,” the spokesperson said.

The policy lists three items that must be reviewed by the student and parent.

It includes a reminder that Texas Education Code 25.0021 mandates a student must be identified by his or her legal surname as it appears on the student’s birth certificate, students must dress in accordance with dress code, and that a gender-neutral restroom, locker room, and other facilities will be made available to any transgender student.


Temple ISD Enrollment of Transgender Students Policy
Temple ISD Enrollment of Transgender Students Policy(TEMPLE ISD)

Temple High School does not have an exact count or estimate regarding the number of students involved in the protest. All campus activities resumed as normal.

“Students have the right to peaceful protests. However, if such activities result in student behaviors such as skipping class or leaving a classroom without permission, then these Student Code of Conduct violations will result in consequences as outlined in the Code of Conduct,” said Wallin.

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