The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana today issued a preliminary injunction, requiring a Martinsville middle school to provide equal treatment to a transgender student who was being denied access to the boys’ bathroom. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Indiana Legal Services filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville in December 2021, on behalf of a transgender boy in 7th grade at John R. Wooden Middle School. 

Denying this boy and other transgender students access to the same opportunities as their peers 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 law is clear: denying transgender students their right to use the correct restroom is discrimination,” said Stevie Pactor, ACLU of Indiana Attorney. “We hope that public schools and legislators will take notice and forgo future challenges by providing equal treatment to all students.” 

The order issued by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt will require John R. Wooden Middle School to allow the student access to the correct restroom, while litigation continues. 

 “We are happy that, with this order, our client will have the same opportunities as his peers to learn, grow, and succeed at school,” said Megan Stuart, case attorney for Indiana Legal Services. “His worries should be about things like homework and friendships, not whether he can use a restroom.” 

This is one of three lawsuits recently filed by the ACLU of Indiana against several public-school districts.