An Ohio school district in danger of losing federal funding over its transgender bathroom policy has filed a lawsuit against the federal government.
Leigh Moore, a 14-year-old male student who identifies as female, has demanded access to the women’s restrooms, but the Highland Local School District denied. They allowed the student access to the individual staff bathroom, but it wasn’t good enough. The Department of Education sent a letter to the school district at the end of March threatening to withhold federal funding because of the district’s “sex discrimination.” Now, the district has filed a lawsuit to challenge the Department of Education’s threat.
“The school is doing what they are required to do, which is to protect students privacy and safety and they are being penalized for doing what we all expect our schools to do,” Matt Sharp, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christian legal group representing the school, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Moore said the staff restroom was not good enough because he would still feel ostracized.
“Kids were seeing me going in the staff bathroom and they would ask why,” Leigh told The Columbus Dispatch. “I told my mom, ‘I’m ready to start using the men’s bathroom now.’ She told the school and they were, like, ‘Nah, let’s leave him where he is.’ Neither my mom or I liked that.”
The school would lose 1.1 million in federal Title IX funding normally used for things like free and reduced lunches as well as special education. Sharp did predict that if “push comes to shove,” the feds will likely balk and not pull the funding. He pointed to the school’s effort to make an accommodation by providing the staff restroom. The district even opened the staff restroom to other students in the class so Leigh would not feel like an outsider.
“That just shows the radical agenda that is being pushed by the Department of Education,” Sharp told TheDCNF.
The Ohio suit is similar to an Illinois suit where more than 50 families filed suit against a Chicago area school and two federal agencies alleging the school allowed a transgender boy into women facilities after the Department of Education threatened to cut millions in funding.
“Schools have a duty to protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of all students. This is precisely what Highland Local School District has done,” ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement. “Despite that, the Department of Education is attempting to strong-arm Highland into complying with a lawless demand to open its single-sex overnight accommodations, locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex. The DOE is trying to redefine a federal law that only Congress can change.”
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