Tag Archives: Student

U.S. Supreme Court to Vote On a High School Bathroom Case Involving a Transgender Student For the First Time

Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old trans boy in Virginia, just wants to use the boys’ bathroom at the high school he attends. A July ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked an appeal by the Gloucester County School Board to force students to use bathrooms according to the gender they were assigned at birth. Now, the case has been kicked up to the U.S. Supreme Court, who will vote directly on an issue of transgender rights for the first time.

Grimm began presenting as a boy in school in September 2014, and he was using the boys’ bathroom for seven weeks without a problem, until parents complained and made it a problem. Suddenly, the school was cowed into adopting a policy in December of that year requiring students to use the bathroom according to the gender assigned them at birth. Since then, Grimm has been using a separate restroom as the ACLU sued the school board in 2015 on Grimm’s behalf. A judge ruled in favor of the Gloucester County School Board in September 2015, which brought the case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA.

It is there that the court ruled in July to block the school district’s appeal, forcing them to allow Grimm and other trans students to use the bathroom according to their gender. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has to vote on whether or not to back the Circuit Court’s decision. Since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, the U.S. Supreme Court has been hesitant to take on really divisive cases while they are short a tie-breaking justice. Right now, they have four conservatives and four liberals, and have already issued a couple of 4-4 rulings since Scalia’s death.

But they will be arguing and voting on this case before the end of June, Scalia replacement or no. Just so you know what that means, a 4-4 ruling would leave the ruling of the Circuit Court of Appeals in place, favoring Grimm. If a justice is appointed, and that justice votes in favor of backing the Circuit Court, that would also (obviously) favor Grimm. So this case is a pretty big deal. However, it’s important to note that, as big as this is, if it ends up being a 4-4 ruling, it wouldn’t set a national precedent. Ties don’t count when it comes to legal precedent.

That is why selecting a new Supreme Court justice is so important, and why conservatives have fought Obama’s appointments tooth and nail, and have vowed to do the same to Clinton if she wins.

So, at the very least, we have a potential 4-4 ruling that would allow trans students in this particular school district in Virginia to use whatever bathroom they need to use. However, this could prove to be much more meaningful if a new justice is selected between now and June.

(via Reuters)

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Judge Orders Restroom Access for Ohio Transgender Student

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

The Highland Local Schools in Morrow County, Ohio challenged President Obama’s transgender bathroom rule this week as a federal judge rejected the move and ordered that the male student who identifies as female be treated “like the girl she is.”

According to Julie Carr Smyth of the Associated Press, Judge Algernon Marbley said the district did not offer a persuasive argument that the student’s access to the girls’ restroom would imperil fellow students’ safety or privacy. Judge Marbley added that Highland was to use the appropriate female name and gender pronouns when referring to the 11-year-old student.

“(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,” he wrote.

He pointed out that there was no evidence that the student would disrupt other students’ privacy or put their safety at risk when merely using the restroom that matches her gender identity. The student’s attorney, Joseph Weissman, stated that the Court had taken a crucial step in protecting the rights of this student.

The legal team representing the school district plans to appeal the decision. Doug Wardlow, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said allowing boys into girls’ bathrooms violates the girls’ privacy and rights. He continued by explaining that the district had already created a policy that would respect the privacy of all students and the diverse needs of certain individual children.

The Highland schools noted that a restroom in the school office had been made available to transgender young people. But parents reported that their children were having mental health issues based on the regulation that they use a restroom that is not utilized by any other students, but is used by adults and school personnel.

The penalty for violating Title IX, the law against sex-based discrimination, could cost the Highland schools as much as $ 1 million.

The student, referred to as Jane Doe to protect her privacy, has already attempted suicide and has stopped using the alternative bathroom in the school office. She has also been the target of bullying, writes The Columbus Dispatch’s Earl Rinehart.

The district has barred Jane Doe from female student restrooms ever since her parents asked the school to allow her to use the girls’ bathrooms before she entered first grade. Judge Marbley said there was no way to know that a transgender student was in the bathroom used by those of the sex to which the student identifies unless someone peeked into the stall.

Asaf Orr, another of Jane Doe’s attorneys, said all the restrooms in the district have stalls and all showers have curtains. But school administrators in the District of Columbia and 14 states have filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs in support of the Highland school district’s suit.

An injunction has been issued by a federal district court in Texas against implementation of the federal regulations in a lawsuit signed by 12 states. Marbley pointed out that the injunction had no impact in Ohio because it was not one of the states involved in the suit. Also, the Highland district had not brought their case to court before a ruling was made in Texas, writes Charley Lanyon for New York Magazine.

Kate Dwyer of Teen Vogue quoted Weissman:

“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.”

Author information

Grace Smith

Grace Smith

The post Judge Orders Restroom Access for Ohio Transgender Student appeared first on Education News.

Education News

Student Alleges Rape by Football Player, Inaction by UNC

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

A student attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has claimed she was raped by a football player at the school earlier in the year.

A press conference was held earlier in the week by UNC Sophomore Delaney Robinson to allow her to discuss the alleged delays in her case while at the same time pushing for change in the treatment of sexual assault and rape victims.  Robinson said it was important to her to bring the issue to light, not only for herself, but for all those who are “not protected.”

According to Robinson, the alleged incident occurred on Valentine’s Day in the Ram Village apartments on the school’s campus.  A linebacker for the UNC football team, Allen Artis, has been accused.  Team officials noted that, in accordance with university policy, he has since been suspended from the team.

“Robinson requested self-sworn warrants for misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor sexual battery as a result of the Orange County District Attorney’s refusal to prosecute the case despite sufficient physical evidence,” writes Robinson’s attorney’s office.

Artis was served with a misdemeanor warrant upon his arrival to the magistrate’s office on Wednesday morning, reports Andrea Blanford for ABC11.

Robinson said she did everything as a rape victim that she was supposed to do, including reporting it, allowing the rape kit to be taken, offering a statement, and fully cooperating with police officers and the Title IX office.  However, it has been six months since the incident, and she claims that the university has yet to act.

“I’m taking this public stand not for me, but for the other students on campus who are not protected, despite what the University tells us. I love this University. It’s my home. I plan on graduating. But I expect the University to fulfill its promises to me and to all students,” she said.

In an email, Denise Branch, an attorney for Robinson, said that the UNC Department of Public Safety said they did not see enough evidence to support any criminal charges to be made.  However, Branch maintains that the physical examination initially conducted on Robinson the night of the incident showed blunt force trauma to her genitals as well as bruising to her neck.

Branch added that not only did Robinson immediately seek out law enforcement, but she continues to fully cooperate with them.

She went on to say that she was told by Orange County District Attorneys that “unconsciousness is rape, black out drunk is not rape.”

Robinson has admitted to underage drinking the night of the alleged incident.  She said that while she does take responsibility for that, she notes that it does not give anyone the right to violate her, adding, “I did not deserve to be raped.”

Branch noted that officials told her they are waiting for the results of Robinson’s BAC from that night.  However, under new Title IX rules, the BAC of the alleged victim cannot be used, and that active consent must be obtained in order to participate in sexual intercourse, writes Olivia Messer for The Daily Beast.

A statement has been issued by the school concerning the incident, saying they take allegations of sexual violence or misconduct seriously, adding that federal law does not allow them to discuss the situation further.

Author information

Kristin Decarr

Kristin Decarr

The post Student Alleges Rape by Football Player, Inaction by UNC appeared first on Education News.

Education News

Minnesota Lawsuit Combines Transgender Student, Twerking, Title IX

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Flickr, Creative Commons)

A public high school in Minnesota has found itself in the center of a lawsuit claiming that it ignored accounts of a transgender student twerking and grinding, among other things, in the girls’ locker room.

In all, 11 families are being represented in the federal lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom, which requests that the Virginia Public Schools’ policy allowing members of the opposite sex to enter showers and locker rooms come to an end.

“School policies should promote the rights and safety of every student, but that’s not what Virginia Public Schools is doing – and it’s certainly not what the departments of Education and Justice are doing,” ADF senior counsel Gary McCaleb said. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting, like a locker room, with someone of the opposite sex.”

Filed in the US District Court for the District of Minnesota, the lawsuit states that the Obama administration had wrongfully redefined the meaning of Title IX in order to provide protection for transgender students against discrimination based on their gender identity, writes Kelsey Harkness for The Daily Signal.

Defendants in the case include Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Independent School District Number 706 (the Virginia School District), and Secretary of Education John King, Jr.

The district had decided to allow transgender students access to the locker rooms, showers and bathrooms with which they identify as a result of a directive issued by the Justice Department and the Department of Education that warned schools they could lose their federal funding if they did not accommodate transgender students.

“No government agency should hold hostage important education funding to advance an unlawful agenda,” the lawsuit states. “No school district should trade its students’ constitutional and statutory rights for dollars and cents, especially when it means abandoning a common sense practice that long protected every student’s privacy and access to education.”

The new policy at the district had allowed the transgender student in question to use the bathroom and locker room that he felt comfortable using.  In addition, the student was allowed to participate on girls’ athletic teams, writes Todd Starnes for Fox News.

The lawsuit states that the sexually suggestive actions of the student in the locker room caused a number of girls to be reduced to tears.

According to the plaintiffs, the student made several comments pertaining to girls’ bodies while in the locker room, including asking one girl her bra size and asking her to “trade body parts” with him.  In addition, it is said that he had danced to loud music that contained sexually explicit lyrics.  This included twerking, grinding, and lifting his skirt to show his underwear.  The lawsuit states that he was “dancing like he was on a stripper pole” to songs such as “Milkshake” by Kelis.

In response to complaints made by several girls at the school, administrators told the students that if they felt uncomfortable they had the option of using an alternative locker room located in the basement of the elementary school.

Author information

Kristin Decarr

Kristin Decarr

The post Minnesota Lawsuit Combines Transgender Student, Twerking, Title IX appeared first on Education News.

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