ACLU seeks federal intervention on Tennessee restroom rule

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2016 5:19 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday asked the federal government to intervene over a school district's policy prohibiting transgender students from using restrooms corresponding to their gender identity.

In a letter written on behalf of a high school student who is a transgender girl, the ACLU asks the U.S. Department of Education to require that the school system in the Nashville suburb of Sumner County make accommodations for transgender students.

The student had used the girl's restroom for several months without incident until officials told her in January that she would be disciplined if she continued to do so, according to the letter.

"No student should have to endure the stigma and marginalization of being segregated from the rest of the student body," said ACLU attorney Abby R. Rubenfeld. "These kinds of blanket bans prevent transgender students from being treated fairly and equally at school."

Todd Presnell, an attorney for the school system, said in a statement that Sumner County's policies comply with federal law.

"While transgender students must use the general restroom and locker room facilities corresponding to their birth gender, our schools provide alternative, private, unisex restrooms and changing facilities," Presnell said.

The ACLU cited last month's decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a transgender teen must be allowed to use the boys' restroom at school.

President Barack Obama said last week that schools nationwide must treat transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, and the Justice Department is suing North Carolina over a law dictating which restrooms transgender people can use.