August 16, 2017 at 4:31 pm EDT | by Steve Charing
Frederick school board sued over trans policy
Frederick County Board, transgender students, gay news, Washington Blade

Lawsuit claims rules violate privacy rights.

A federal lawsuit was filed in the District Court of Maryland last Friday by a 15-year-old girl under the pseudonym Mary Smith, and her mother, identified as Jane Doe against the Frederick County Board of Education and Superintendent Theresa Alban, according to the Frederick News-Post.

The lawsuit argues that a policy approved in June by the Frederick County Board of Education violates the girl’s fundamental right to bodily privacy, and her mother’s fundamental parental rights regarding the care and upbringing of her child.

The policy allows students to choose the restroom based on their gender identity as well as participate in sports that are consistent with their gender identity. It would also allow students the opportunity to room with others according to their gender identity.

Board of Education President Brad Young told WFMD in June that the guidelines have been issued to each school regarding the treatment of transgender students, and adopting a policy would put this practice in writing.

“This is in practice what Frederick County Public Schools have been doing for the past six years, and now we’re putting into a policy to formalize it,” he said.

He said the policy would not infringe upon the rights of other students. Young told WFMD that when it comes to bathroom use, students can use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, even if it’s not their birth gender. But accommodations are made for students who don’t feel comfortable going to the restroom with someone whose gender differs from their own.

“They have just as much right to feel comfortable as everyone else,” he said. “And if they have  those apprehensions, they would be entitled to use separate facilities that would be private.”

FreeState Justice, a legal advocacy organization that seeks to improve the lives of low-income LGBT Marylanders, reacted to the lawsuit.

“All kids deserve to go to a school where they are included and safe and have equal access to school facilities. Mark A. Procopio, Executive Director of FreeState Justice, told the Blade.

Jennifer Kent, FreeState Justice managing attorney, added, “Court after court has ruled that kids who are transgender are protected under Title IX or federal constitutional protections. Many schools across the country already have policies that provide transgender students equal access to bathrooms, locker rooms, and extracurricular activities while accommodating the privacy of all students in a non-stigmatizing manner.”

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