Highland schools will appear federal court’s ruling on transgender student

Staff report

SPARTA — Highand School District has filed an appeal to a federal district court’s decision Monday in Board of Education of the Highland Local School District v. United States Department of Education that forces one of the district’s schools to allow a biologically male student to use girls’ restroom.

“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students, but the judge’s order today doesn’t allow the Highland Local School District to do that. Allowing boys in girls’ restrooms completely disregards the privacy needs and rights of all the girls who are rightfully and understandably concerned. The school district must consider them as well, and that’s why it crafted a sound policy which respects the privacy concerns of all children and at the same time respects the diverse needs of individual children. For this reason, our client has appealed the court’s decision,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Doug Wardlow.

A federal court ordered Monday that the school district o to allow an 11-year-old transgender girl to use school restrooms that correspond to her gender identity.

In a 43-page order, Judge Algenon L. Marbley of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled that federal guidelines interpreting sex-discrimination laws to require that transgender students be allowed to access restrooms according to their gender identity were entitled to deference and barred the school district from requiring the student to use a separate restroom from her peers. The court also ruled that Highland’s actions violated the student’s constitutional rights and that the privacy rights of other students were not violated by allowing the student to use girls’ restrooms.

In reaching this conclusion, the court cited a brief filed by administrators from “school districts in twenty states around the country” that have “adopted inclusive policies permitting transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.” The court noted that in these districts, “no disruptions in restrooms had ensued nor were there any complaints about specific violations of privacy.”

The student is represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Hickman & Lowder LPA, and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The following can be attributed to the legal team representing the student:

“Every student has a right to be free from discrimination and harassment while at school, and we are pleased the Court has taken this important step in protecting Jane Doe’s rights. As the case proceeds, we will continue to vigorously work to protect our client’s rights.”

Staff report