(Los Angeles Blade) The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Indiana Legal Services filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana last week against the Vigo County School Corp, after employees denied two Terre Haute North High School students their right to use the restrooms consistent with their gender identity.
“Denying these students access to the correct restrooms violates both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a),” the ACLU stated in a press release.
Both students represented in the case have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, are under a physician’s care, and have been prescribed hormone therapy. Despite the fact that these students have long been identified as male, they have been informed by school administrators that they are not allowed to use the male restrooms.
“Denying a student their right to use the correct restroom is discrimination, plain and simple,” said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana Legal Director. “Schools should be a safe place for kids and the refusal to allow a student to use the correct restroom can be extremely damaging”
“There are a lot of transgender kids in Indiana,” Falk told Terra Haute CBS News affiliate WTHI. “There are a lot of schools systems refusing to recognize them as having gender dysphoria. There are a lot of kids who are suffering. I think it’s the hope of these two young men that not only can they get some remedy for themselves but they can help educate schools to do not just the right thing but do what is required by the law.”
“The law gives transgender students the same opportunities as their peers to learn, grow, and succeed at school,” said Kathleen Bensberg, Staff Attorney with the LGBT Project at Indiana Legal Services. “We look forward to working with ACLU to represent these students in this case.”
Students who are denied access to the correct restroom may confront increased bullying and may avoid using the restroom altogether while in school.