Transgender student sues school for being denied access to boys' bathroom

Justin Chan
In The Know

A transgender North Carolina high school student with a kidney disease is suing his school district over claims that it discriminated against him by denying him use of the boys' bathroom, the Shelby Star reports.

The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 28, only identifies the student as "John Doe" and names the Cleveland County Board of Education, Superintendent Stephen Fisher and Kings Mountain High School principal Julie Rikard as defendants. The student is reportedly a high school senior with stage 4 kidney disease.

According to the Star, the student was born a female but began his transition during his freshman year. He and his mother allegedly notified his high school that he identified as male and requested that he use the boys' restroom. Rikard, however, turned the request down, the suit claims.

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The denial purportedly took a mental and physical toll on the transgender student, who actively stayed away from using the girls' bathroom because he didn't feel comfortable.

"Because I am a boy I could not use the girls’ restroom comfortably and ended up avoiding the restroom for the entirety of the year," he said in a sworn statement.

At times when the student did use the girls' bathroom, he would get picked on, he added.

During the student's sophomore year, he began his testosterone treatments and was allegedly told he could only use the teachers' bathroom, the Star further reports. Still, he would get "looks" from teachers while using it.

The discomfort forced the student to avoid using the bathroom, which doctors believe worsened a kidney disease that he had been dealing with since his birth.

"In addition to the escalation in his anxiety and distress that has resulted from Kings Mountain High School’s refusal to let John access the restroom on equal terms as other boys, John’s kidney function has also been compromised as a result of his lack of access to appropriate restroom facilities," the student's physician wrote in a court document.

Yet, when asked about the lawsuit, Shearra Miller, chair of the school board, told the Star that the district "made an accommodation for the student that we felt was the in the best interest of the student at the time."

Following the lawsuit's filing, a judge temporarily approved the student's request for a temporary restraining order that requires the school to let him use the boys' bathroom.


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