The state of Minnesota got the green light to join a lawsuit against a Twin Cities school district accused of discrimination against a transgender male student.
According to Bring Me The News, the mother of a transgender male student launched the suit against Anoka-Hennepin School District, claiming her son was forced to use an "enhanced privacy" boys' locker room completely separate from the main boys' locker room because he is transgender.
Back in March, Minnesota Department of Human Rights said it intended to join the lawsuit because forcing the boy to use a separate locker room because he's transgender "resulted in a hostile education environment that stigmatized [the boy] and other transgender students." The Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union is also involved in the suit.
The Minnesota DHR now has the OK to join the suit against the district, where the boy is a member of the Coon Rapids High School swim team. It is seeking to enforce the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which has protected everyone from gender discrimination (including transgender and gender nonconforming students) since 1993 by having the district revise its policies and procedures, train staff, and report about its compliance to the DHR.
Anoka-Hennepin filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed - a request that was denied, according to a district court ruling released Monday.
In March, the district issued a statement arguing its locker room restrooms match national and state schools guidelines:
"The use of restrooms and locker rooms are determined on a case-by-case basis. The goal is to ensure that all students feel safe and comfortable. Plans for accommodation for restroom and locker room use are made in consultation with school building administrators, the Title IX coordinator, and superintendent in compliance with state and federal law. This approach is consistent with guidance from the National School Boards Association and the Minnesota School Boards Association. Providing privacy for all students is an important consideration.
The Minnesota Supreme Court held in Goins v. West Group 'that the Minnesota Human Rights Act neither requires nor prohibits restroom designation according to self-image of gender or according to biological gender.'
In permitting the student to use the boys restrooms and locker room consistent with his gender identity, the District surpassed what Minnesota law prescribes. Information regarding individual students is considered private student data and the district is not allowed to comment on such information. Anoka-Hennepin is confident our actions conform with state and federal law."
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