Trans Students Win Legal Battles Amidst Trump Administration Changes

Published: August 11, 2017

In the last few months, trans students have been victorious in several legal battles for their rights in school.

The legal victories come on the heels of the Trump Administration’s revocation of trans student protections under Title IX.

Most recently, on Tuesday, three transgender teens were each rewarded $20,000 in a lawsuit with their former Pennsylvania school.

The students had recently graduated from Pine-Richland High School and successfully fought for the ability to use the bathroom which aligns with their gender identity. Their fight also added protections for other trans students at the school, reports Vice.

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“It’s not about which bathroom you use,” says Rachel Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal, the nonprofit organization who represented the Pennsylvania students. “The point is that these schools and unfortunately the Department of Education and Department of Justice is making policy that says, ‘You’re not welcome.’ It’s to tell trans and queer kids, ‘We don’t want you, we don’t want to see you, we wish you weren’t here, and if we’re mean enough, you might go away.”

Earlier this week, the parents of an elementary charter school student at Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota won their fight to change the school’s nondiscrimination policy to accommodate transgender students.

The parents alleged that the school violated their child’s civil rights by not providing protection against gender-based bullying and hostility, according to CBS.

To avoid a lengthy court battle, the parents and the school entered into mediation where they reached an agreement.

The agreement requires the school to make transgender policy changes, provide staff training and distribute gender neutral uniforms to students.

The school will also pay $120,000 in damages to the family. The child left Nova in 2016 and now attends a public elementary school.

In May, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a 17-year-old trans student from Wisconsin to use the boy’s bathroom which is consistent with his gender identity.

A panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled against the school district, stating, “The harms identified by the school district are all speculative and based upon conjecture, whereas the harms to Ash are well‐documented and supported by the record. As a consequence, we affirm the grant of preliminary injunctive relief.”

This particular case was groundbreaking as it was the first time a federal court ruled that Title IX protects trans students.

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