- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina school board has repealed its decision to allow high school students to carry pepper spray, a weapon one board member had said could have been useful for students encountering transgender classmates in the bathroom.

The Rowan Salisbury Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to overturn a May 9 vote to allow high school students to carry sprays and disposable razors for personal protection, news outlets reported.

Board member Chuck Hughes had said that the spray would be allowed solely for self-defense. He also referenced House Bill 2, a North Carolina law that prevents transgender people from using bathrooms corresponding to the gender they identify with.

“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,” he said.

Board of Education Chairman Josh Wagner said liability concerns raised by parents and law enforcement persuaded them to change course and place pepper sprays and disposable razors back on the list of items that students aren’t allowed to carry on campus.

“The assumption was that there are some students that are definitely in possession of it,” he said of the pepper spray. “And we haven’t had any issues with it.”

Wagner added that allergies or other reactions to pepper spray were also a concern.

Prior to Monday’s vote, the policy had been set to go into effect in August when new student handbooks are issued.

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