A transgender student-athlete who was barred from using the boys’ locker room while on his high school’s swim team won a $300,000 settlement from a Minnesota school district.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota announced the settlement with the Anoka-Hennepin School District over the allegations of discrimination against the transgender student, Nick Himley, in a Tuesday press release.
“I never want any student to experience the discrimination and cruelty I experienced from the adults at my school,” Himley said.
“It means a lot to see the courts protect transgender students like me. Today’s settlement agreement makes it very clear that segregating transgender students doesn’t just dehumanize us, it violates our legal rights.”
We just wrapped up our press conference, talking about a major settlement for our client N.H. from the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
Bottom line: This is a huge win for N.H., and a huge win for transgender students.
— ACLU of Minnesota (@ACLUMN) March 23, 2021
The school district also announced several internal reforms, according to the press release, which includes developing a policy to allow every student to use all facilities consistent with their gender identity.
The school board initially barred Himley from using the boys’ locker room in 2016 when he was a member of the Coon Rapids High School swim team, CBS 4 reported. Himley sued the school district alleging the prohibition violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act’s education provision protecting “the rights of any student to use locker rooms without discrimination.”
Court documents said Himley was hospitalized three times between 2016 and 2017 due to “mental health concerns” and attempted to transfer out of the Anoka-Hennepin School District, according to the Star Tribune.
The state Court of Appeals in September 2020 affirmed an earlier district court decision, ruling that “requiring a transgender student to use a different locker room facility because of his sexual orientation is discrimination” under the education provision of the state’s human rights act. (RELATED: 53% of Voters Support Banning Trans Athletes In Women’s Sports, Poll Shows)
“Anoka-Hennepin’s mistreatment of Nick was unconstitutional and unnecessary, and we hope this settlement puts every other school district in Minnesota on notice that discrimination will not be tolerated,” ACLU staff attorney David McKinney said in the press release.
The Anoka-Hennepin School District said that the state Court of Appeals “has established clarity for transgender student access to locker rooms,” Fox 9 reported.