(Columbus, Ohio—Sept. 26, 2016) Today, a federal court ordered the Highland Local School District in Ohio to allow an 11-year-old transgender girl to use school restrooms that correspond to her gender identity and to otherwise to treat her like all other female students.
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.”