In November 2011, a transgender middle school student filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against Downey Unified School District. The complainant, who was assigned male at birth, but identified as female, sought to be treated as a girl for the rest of ...
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In November 2011, a transgender middle school student filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against Downey Unified School District. The complainant, who was assigned male at birth, but identified as female, sought to be treated as a girl for the rest of middle school and throughout high school, claiming that the treatment she had received in elementary school violated Title IX. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that in elementary school, makeup was confiscated from her and she was forced to write her male classmates an apology letter. She was excluded from group counselling sessions because the elementary school did not want her to discuss her gender identity with other students. She was harassed by other students, who were not disciplined for that harassment. When she transitioned to presenting as a girl, some school staff were unsupportive and refused to call her by her female name. The complainant went to a different middle school, where the administration was supportive but she was still harassed by other students.
On October 8, 2014, the school district signed an agreement with OCR. In addition to ensuring that the complainant is treated the same as other girls, the district agreed to train school staff on issues pertaining to gender identity, incorporate age-appropriate material on gender identity into the school curriculum, review its sexual harassment and disciplinary policies to ensure that they are gender neutral, administer climate surveys to all middle and high school students on the effectiveness of the school's bullying prevention measures, and hire a consultant to oversee the implementation of the agreement.
On October 14, 2014, OCR released a letter of findings reaffirming that, in accordance with Title IX, the complainant must be treated like a girl through the rest of middle and high school, including using girls' restrooms and locker rooms and being allowed to play on girls' athletic teams.Katherine Reineck - 11/15/2015