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Emotions run high during debate over Buffalo's transgender policy

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The continuing debate in Buffalo schools over a policy for transgender students drew such a large crowd Wednesday night that the meeting was moved from the usual, cramped board room to the much larger Common Council Chambers. A heavy security presence added to the evening's tension.

"The trans-gender students in this country, as you heard from so many speakers, are under assault from a whole host of agencies, not only from student to student but from the legal and the courts," said Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent of Buffalo schools.

Cash may have summed up the collective opinion of the majority in attendance at the session who were often vocal in their support of transgender students. In fact, some began booing when opponents of Buffalo's transgender policy tried to speak.

One of those opponents was  FellowshipWorld Church Pastor John Young.

"Your two sentence policy opens up the door to every pedophile, known and unknown. It opens up . It opens up the door to every registered and unregistered sex offender," Young told the crowd, many of whom responded with shouts and boos.

It was part of an overall emotional night. One speaker, Azalea Williams, discussed being beaten by fellow students in Buffalo schools. 

The board has yet to make a final decision on the transgender policy. Members spent time in executive session last night as district lawyers discussed the ramifications of the ruling from a federal judge in Texas who, in essence, shot down the Obama Administration's policy that called for students to have access to bathrooms based on their gender identity.