A federal judge on Monday ordered an Indiana school district that a transgender student at John R. Wooden Middle School in Martinsville must be allowed to use the boys’ restroom.
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction last month that gave the 13-year-old student the right to use restrooms within the middle school in association with the biological female student’s new gender identity.
The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville responded by appealing the ruling to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that if Pratt’s order were reversed on appeal, it “would be disruptive of the school’s operations … and undermine the order and authority of the school.”
On Monday, the Obama-appointed judge rejected a request from the district to delay the enforcement of the April 27 ruling while it appealed, according to a U.S. District Court ruling document obtained by WISH-TV.
Pratt stated that the district hadn’t presented any new arguments or evidence that school operations would suffer “irreparable harm” by allowing the student to use the boys’ restroom.
“This speculative harm is both unsupported by any evidence and appears questionable, given that the [Metropolitan School District of Martinsville] allows other transgender students to use the restrooms associated with their gender identity,” Pratt wrote in her ruling.
In addition, the judge also noted that the school year is ending on May 26, and the student had used the boys’ restroom without incident for three weeks.
The student, identified as A.C. in the ruling, sued the school district earlier this year after being denied access to the boys’ restrooms. The student began using the boys’ restrooms despite being asked not to. A staff member caught the student and reported the situation to the school administration.
When A.C. began attending the school, she was offered to use the single-sex restroom in the school’s medical clinic. The student singled out this location, saying it made her feel isolated and often resulted in her being late to class. A.C. was born female and was granted a legal name change, though her gender marker request was denied by a court in April.
The lawsuit her family filed against the school district is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which has recently filed a number of similar lawsuits against public school districts in Indiana.
The litigation comes as the U.S. Department of Education is reportedly working on revising Trump-era regulations on the enforcement of Title IX to include gender identity as a protected category. The Biden administration has already proposed significant changes to the 1972 Education Amendments law.
The department is expected to soon release proposed regulations on Title IX, including whether male-to-female transgenders should be allowed to compete against biological women in school athletics. The president directed the department last year to review the policies of Title IX.
On Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order declaring that everyone “should receive equal treatment” under Title IX, “no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
In March, the Biden administration announced that it is bent on redefining “sex” from its clear biological and legal meaning to include “sex stereotypes, sex-related characteristics (including intersex traits), pregnancy or related conditions, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Biden is challenging legislation that includes a restriction on access to transgender students in school sports, mostly biological males competing in women’s sports. His administration is also challenging legislation that restricts access to “gender-affirming care” for youth, the ability for transgenders to change gender markers on state driver’s licenses, and the rights of a female-to-male transgender to use the boy’s restroom at schools.