Transgender teen sues 4 school districts over bullying

Attorney James Rasor is representing a 14-year-old transgender boy - a child born a female who identifies as male. 

A child, Rasor says, who was bullied and traumatized at several schools because of it, leading to the student's family filing suit against four school districts.

"This goes beyond taunting and teasing - this goes to physical violence," he said. "The school districts failed miserably to keep this kid safe from bullying and in fact the school districts bullied the kid themselves.

"It's just an outrageous example of school districts failing to protect their students."

Rasor says the districts failed to keep the student's private information confidential, failed to provide an accessible unisex restroom - meaning he couldn't go to the bathroom all day.

That wasn't all.

"They refuse to refer to him by his male name - his chosen name," Rasor said. "They outed him to other students and other administrators, they told him that he was a whiner, that he should just get over it."

Rasor says the student and his family had to move repeatedly changing schools several times because of the harassment  and each time, it happened again.

The districts now named in this federal lawsuit include Van Buren Public Schools, Summit Academy North District, Wyandotte Public Schools and Dearborn Heights Public Schools.

Even though the state of Michigan has no laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people, schools are subject to such laws - both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause."

 "A school has a duty pursuant to federal and state law to protect their students and to keep their students safe," Rasor said. "They have to take this duty seriously - and this duty is pursuant to federal law and to state law - when they fail to do that, for that harm."

The school districts are seeking to have the case dismissed but now the federal government has filed this brief in support of the child's case - asking the court to prohibit sex discrimination under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause - signed by the United States Department of Education, the assistant attorney general, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

"This case is about changing the playing field for LGBT youth in schools," Rasor said. "This is so that all kids can go to school and get an atmosphere free from bullying so that they can learn and maximize their potential." 

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