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Appeals court defends trans student in restroom dispute

Appeals court defends trans student in restroom dispute

Federal judge hands legal setback to suburban Pittsburgh school district.

An appeals court blocked a Ohio’s school’s attempt to stop a trans student from using the restroom consistent with her gender identity.

Late last week a three-judge panel of the US Court Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in the 2-1 decision. According to Slate, the judgement reaffirms the finding from a lower court that argued schools that receive federal funding cannot discriminate against transgender students due to Title IX ( a federal law, passed in  1972, that prohibits sexual discrimination in schools).

In the majority decision, the court pointed to the issues the unidentified student faces.

‘The record establishes that Doe, a vulnerable eleven year old with special needs, will suffer irreparable harm if prohibited from using the girls’ restroom,’ the judges wrote. ‘Her special education class, which previously used the nurse’s restroom to accommodate Doe, has started using the sex-separate multi-user restrooms now that Doe can use the girls’ restrooms. Highland’s exclusion of Doe from the girls’ restrooms has already had substantial and immediate adverse effects on the daily life and well-being of an eleven-year-old child (i.e. multiple suicide attempts prior to entry of the injunction). These are not distant or speculative injuries.’

According to AOL News, since September the student has been using the girl’s restroom at a school in the Highland Local School District. The district is located northwest of Akron, the state’s fifth-largest city.

The case started this past June, when school officials sued to block the Obama administration’s guidelines on transgender students rights.

AOL News reports the district maintains student Doe is allowed to use a private bathroom and to identify as a girl at school. The district’s legal counsel is the Alliance for Defending Freedom. On the group’s website it describes itself as a defender of religious freedom.

‘Allowing boys in girls’ restrooms completely disregards the privacy needs and rights of all the girls who are rightfully and understandably concerned,’ said Doug Wardlow, the organization’s legal counsel, according to AOL. ‘Young boys should not be allowed in girls’ locker rooms or restrooms.’