A federal judge ruled Monday that a school district in Ohio should allow a transgender student, who identifies as female, to use the girls’ bathrooms.
“(S)chool districts that have encountered these very issues have been able to integrate transgender students fully into the academic and social community without disruption, and certainly without the doomsday scenarios Highland predicts, such as sexual predators entering an elementary-school restroom,” Judge Algenon Marbley wrote in the ruling.
He also ordered the Highland Local School District to use the transgender student’s female name and use the correct pronoun in addressing the student.
The school district, which served parts of Knox, Delaware and Morrow counties, challenged the administration’s directive to allow the transgender students into the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.
The district filed a lawsuit against the administration for demanding that the schools allow transgender students into women’s bathrooms. The lawsuit was filed through Alliance Defending Freedom.
The school district’s funds were threatened by the Department of Education because it refused to comply to the demand.
“Schools have a duty to protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of all students. This is precisely what Highland Local School District has done,” Jim Campbell, senior counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, said.
“Despite that, the Department of Education is attempting to strong-arm Highland into complying with a lawless demand to open its single-sex overnight accommodations, locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex. The DOE is trying to redefine a federal law that only Congress can change,” he added.
However, the judge said the school authorities were not able to provide a strong argument supporting the idea that allowing the transgender student, referred to as Jane Doe, into the female restrooms would endanger the female students’ safety.
The student’s attorney, Joseph Weissman, praised the court’s decision to protect the rights of Jane Doe.
"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," Weissman said.
Douglas Wardlow, the school district’s attorney maintained that schools are obliged to “protect the privacy, safety and dignity of all students, which the judge’s ruling prevented the school from fulfilling.
"The school district must consider them as well, and that’s why it crafted a sound policy which respects the privacy concerns of all children and at the same time respects the diverse needs of individual children," he said.
Highland Local School District appealed the judge’s ruling at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.