COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A school district accused of sex-based discrimination against a transgender student is suing President Barack Obama’s administration over its directive that public schools let such students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity.
Highland Local School District in Morrow County faces an unresolved civil rights complaint about the treatment of an elementary student who is biologically male but identifies as female.
The lawsuit filed Friday said the district has made other accommodations for the child, allowing her to use individual staff restrooms and making that option available to the rest of her class, too. At the request of the student’s legal custodian, the district has agreed since 2012 — when the student started first grade — to address her as a female, but it refused a request the following year to let the student use the girls’ restroom and has maintained that stance, according to the lawsuit.
Allowing the child to use the girls’ restroom would jeopardize privacy rights of other students, but not doing so in defiance of the directive could cost the district, which serves a low-income community, about $1 million annually in federal funding, it said.
A message seeking comment was left Friday for the Justice Department. When the directive was issued last month, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind.”
The district is represented by attorneys from the Arizona-based conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. They ask that the court to block enforcement of the Obama administration’s directive.
It’s not the first lawsuit challenging the directive. In one case, officials from Texas and 10 other states filed a lawsuit, and officials in some other states have expressed interest in joining that or filing their own lawsuits.