University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Tooley v. Van Buren Public Schools ED-MI-0004
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-13466 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On September 5, 2014, a fourteen-year-old transgender boy filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against South Middle School and its administrators, Summit Academy Charter Public School and its administrators, Wilson Middle School and its administrators, and ... read more >
On September 5, 2014, a fourteen-year-old transgender boy filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against South Middle School and its administrators, Summit Academy Charter Public School and its administrators, Wilson Middle School and its administrators, and OW Best Middle School and its administrators. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, proceeded under Title IX, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the First Amendment, and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. He asked the court for injunctive relief, claiming that defendants had discriminated against him because he was transgender. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that he was consistently misgendered by school staff, forced to use the girls' restroom, harassed by school staff and other students, and that he was repeatedly outed by school staff. He also claimed that his mother made repeated attempts to meet with his teachers and school administrators to discuss Plaintiff's situation, but that they avoided her, and when they did meet with her, they were dismissive.

On September 15, 2014, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. On October 20, 2015, the court (Judge Grand) entered a stipulated order allowing Plaintiff to submit a second amended complaint.

On February 24, 2015, the United States submitted a statement of interest in the case. The United States stated its position that Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, discrimination against transgender individuals is discrimination on the basis of sex and his prohibited by Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause and that the case should be allowed to proceed to discovery to resolve questions of fact.

Katherine Reineck - 11/15/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Title IV, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c et seq.
State law
Defendant(s) OW Best Middle School
South Middle School
Summit Academy Charter Public School
Wilson Middle School
Plaintiff Description A sixteen-year-old transgender student whose school district would not allow him to use the boys' restroom
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:14-cv-13466 (E.D. Mich.) 10/21/2015
ED-MI-0004-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Request 09/05/2014
ED-MI-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint and Reliance on Jury Demand 09/15/2014
ED-MI-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States 02/24/2015
ED-MI-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. DOJ, Civil Rights Division, Education Section
Judges Cohn, Avern Levin (E.D. Mich.)
ED-MI-0004-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Marko, Jonathan R. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0004-0001 | ED-MI-0004-0002
Rasor, James B. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0004-0001 | ED-MI-0004-0002
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers DeClercq, Susan K. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0004-0003
McQuade, Barbara L. (Michigan)
ED-MI-0004-0003

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