Indiana School District Sued Over Transgender Restroom Access, Use of Wrong Names

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a federal lawsuit against an Indiana school district on behalf of two transgender high school students.

Staff members from Terre Haute North High School denied two transgender students the use of restrooms and bathrooms aligning with their associated gender identity.

Since elementary school, these two students have identified as males.

Now, the ACLU's lawsuit against the Vigo Country School Corporation requests a preliminary injunction ensuring that school staffers use the preferred male names of the students. Additionally, the ACLU wants those names to be used in every school-related capacity such as school publications like the yearbook.

"Schools should be a safe place for kids and the refusal to allow a student to use the correct restroom can be extremely damaging," ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a statement.

Students who are denied access to the correct restroom might confront increased bullying and may avoid using the restroom altogether while in school, the ACLU said.

According to the ACLU, the high school has violated both the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

"Denying a student their right to use the correct restroom is discrimination, plain and simple," Falk said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

ACLU protects transgender student rights
An Indiana school district is being sued after denying access to restrooms and bathrooms to two transgender students. LGBTQ rights supporters gather at the Texas State Capitol to protest state Republican-led efforts to pass legislation that would restrict the participation of transgender student athletes on the first day of the 87th Legislature's third special session on September 20 in Austin, Texas. Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images News

Transgender restroom rights have faced legal and political fights across the country.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected in June a Virginia school board's appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban. Lower courts ruled that the board's policy was unconstitutional and discriminated against a student because he was required to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex—female—or private bathrooms.

Attorneys general from 20 states, including Indiana, sued President Joe Biden's administration in August seeking to halt directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, ranging from transgender girls participating in school sports to the use of school and workplace bathrooms that align with a person's gender identity.

Two civil rights groups filed a federal court challenge Thursday against a Tennessee law that bars transgender athletes from playing public high school or middle school sports aligned with their gender identity.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and Lambda Legal, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Nashville on behalf of a 14-year-old transgender boy, arguing the state law violates equal rights protections under the 14th Amendment and Title IX.