High school students in the Rowan-Salisbury Schools can take Mace and pepper spray to school beginning in August. One school board member said the weapon could help ward off an attack in a girl’s bathroom as debate rages over North Carolina’s HB2 law and which bathrooms transgender students should use.

“Depending on how the courts rule on the bathroom issues, it may be a pretty valuable tool to have on the female students if they go to the bathroom, not knowing who may come in,” board member Chuck Hughes said in referencing concerns about HB2, according to the Salisbury Post.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education agreed this week to remove language that kept students from taking defensive sprays onto campuses. The district is located about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte.

Some board members were concerned the sprays could be used other than for defense. The board’s lawyer, Ken Soo, said a few cases exist of students using Mace against a teacher, according to the Post.

Other members downplayed the concerns.

“I imagine every football game there is on Friday night, there’s more pepper spray in the stands in pocketbooks and key chains and you know, we never have an issue with it,” board member Travis Allen said, according to the newspaper. “I could do more damage with my laptop than I could with a bottle of pepper spray. It’s just a non-issue.”

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