Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Court Requires School To Allow Transgender 5th Grader To Use Bathrooms Matching Her Gender Identity

In Board of Education of Highland Local School District v. U.S. Department of Education, (SD OH, Sept. 26, 2016), an Ohio federal magistrate judge granted a preliminary injunction to a fifth grade transgender girl requiring her school to allow her to use the girls' restroom.  The court found that she was likely to succeed on her Title IX and equal protection claims, saying in part:
the Sixth Circuit, as well as several other courts of appeals, have held that sex-discrimination claims based on gender noncomformity are cognizable under Title IX’s close cousin, Title VII.
Finding that heightened scrutiny is called for on plaintiff's equal protection claim, the court said in part:
Amici from school districts in twenty states around the country ... provide further support for the Court’s conclusion that Highland cannot show that allowing a transgender girl to use the girls’ restroom would compromise anyone’s privacy interests. When they adopted inclusive policies permitting transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, all of these school districts wrestled with the same privacy concerns that Highland now asserts.... The school administrators agreed that although some parents opposed the policies at the outset, no disruptions in restrooms had ensued nor were there any complaints about specific violations of privacy.
The court conversely denied the school's motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent federal agencies from enforcing their interpretation of Title IX.