Parents and community advocates are calling on Knox County Schools to do more to protect LGBT students.

In a news conference Monday, the group outlined ways they say the district comes up short when it comes to providing equal protection and treatment by teachers, administrators and fellow students.

Activists say dozens of students have told them about those shortcomings they say lead to abuse, suicidal thoughts and a dislike of school.

"We are asking Knox County schools to treat transgender students the same and cis gender or non transgender students," said Roddy Biggs.

They believe adopting new policies can make schools safe and welcoming to every student.

"You would expect that when you send your child to school that the school is there to protect them, but in our case that isn't true," said parent Crystal Yamazaki.

Melissa Massie, executive director for student support services for KCS, said the district has staff members who can work with students and parents.

"So if a student has a situation in their personal life and they need help navigating that, we have highly trained professionals there to help them navigate that," Massie said.