School Settles for 120K with Transgender Child’s Parents in Discrimination Case

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Minnesota parents of a 7-year-old transgender child settled charges filed against Nova Classical Academy Charter School in St. Paul after the school failed to provide a curriculum of transgender-awareness or implement policies that would have protected their child against bullying.

The charges, which were filed by David and Hannah Edwards with the St. Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity in May 2016, gave complaint to practices that the Edwards family felt to be discriminatory toward gender fluid students, such as the designation of uniforms by gender, the Minnesota Star Tribune reports.

While Nova students seemed curious and receptive to trials in transgender-inclusive education — i.e., being taught from ‘My Princess Boy,’ a children’s book that addresses conceptions of gender fluidity — parents reportedly had mixed reactions to the idea of transgender sensitivity training that precipitated much of the backlash that occurred, according to the Gender Justice law firm which handled the Edwards case.

In their complaint, the Edwards couple posited that through Nova’s failure accommodate their child’s needs, the school had engaged in “gender identity discrimination by failing to prevent gender-based bullying against [their child],” thereby “denying her [the] ability to transition socially.”

The case settled upon a happy zenith of sorts this week after the school agreed out-of-court to pay $120,000 to the Edwards family for emotional damages. They also agreed to revise certain identity-restrictive policies and procedures that otherwise inhibit inclusive learning for transgender and gender fluid students.

“The discrimination we experienced will likely have a lasting impact on our family. However, the phenomenal support we have received from the Twin Cities LGBTQIA community makes us feel optimistic about the future,” David Edwards said of the emotional violence, the Gender Justice. “We feel lucky to live in Minnesota, where gender identity and gender expression are protected by state and local laws.”

 


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