The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Indiana Legal Services today filed a lawsuit 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).
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 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”
“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.
The ACLU of Indiana has a long history of defending LGBTQ community members and continues to work to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal rights, personal autonomy and freedom of expression and association. Indiana Legal Services’ LGBT Project is a statewide legal assistance program providing legal advocacy and representation to LGBTQ Hoosiers to address the disproportionate rates of poverty and violence in the LGBTQ community by assisting with issues that cause and affect poverty, violence, and discrimination.