Mother sues Duval Schools over transgender bathroom policy

By : Alex Storer
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Jacksonville – A mother of four from Jacksonville is suing the Duval County Public School District for allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identities.

Filed on May 17, the lawsuit comes on the heels of Duval County Public Schools’ decision to accept the Obama administration’s newly clarified policy concerning transgender students.

“The school district will continue to adhere to federal requirements per Title IX which includes complying with regulations related to gender definition, gender identities and use of school bathrooms,” says Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, in a media release. “We have historically problem-solved and developed solutions for situations regarding gender identity concerns for our students and staff.”

Wryshona Isaac, whose children attend public schools in Duval County, is the plaintiff in the case. Her lawsuit attacks the district’s “blind adoption” of the policy as “factually and legally baseless” and “as a blatant violation of the privacy rights of children … inconsistent with the provision of a safe, nurturing and supportive education environment for children during a critical juncture in their lives.”

In a public Facebook post made May 22, Isaac said, “I do not have anything against the LGBT community, however, I do stand by what I believe in and that is [that] bathrooms and locker rooms should remain separate as male and female and those lines should not be crossed.”

On May 13, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education issued a joint letter to public school districts across the nation informing them that “when a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

Although a representative of the school district refused to comment on the lawsuit, they did clarify that Duval County’s public schools were already in compliance with the federal government directive and that “gender identity” terminology had been added to the district’s equity policy in 2012.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Jacksonville attorney Wesley White, has yet to receive a court date. White says he thinks the lawsuit has “excellent” chances of succeeding.

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