University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name OCR Investigation of Arcadia Unified School District ED-CA-0023
Docket / Court 09-12-1020 ( No Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) initiated a joint investigation of the Arcadia Unified School District into allegations of sex-based discrimination against a middle school student in the ... read more >
In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) initiated a joint investigation of the Arcadia Unified School District into allegations of sex-based discrimination against a middle school student in the district. The investigation was pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, based on allegations that the District was discriminating against the student based on sex by denying him equal access to the District’s education program and activities because he is transgender.

Specifically, the complaints alleged that the district prohibited the Student from accessing facilities consistent with his male gender identity, including restrooms and locker rooms at school, as well as sex-specific overnight accommodations at a school-sponsored trip to an off-site academic camp in October 2011.

The investigation included site visits by OCR staff to the district schools attended by the student and the overnight camp site; interviews with District administrators and faculty, camp administrators, the student and his family, parents of some of the student’s classmates, California Department of Education officials, administrators in other California school districts with policies addressing transgender and gender nonconforming students, and other gender identity experts.

Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the district expressed an interest in voluntarily resolving this case and entered into a resolution agreement that commits the district to take specific actions. On July 23, 2013, the district, without admitting any violation of federal law, voluntarily agreed to enter into the resolution agreement with the United States to resolve the complaints.

Under the agreement, the district agreed to provide the discriminated student access to sex-specific facilities designated for male students at school consistent with his gender identity; treat the student the same as other male students in all respects in the education programs and activities offered by the district; and ensure that any school records containing the student’s birth name or reflecting the student’s assigned sex are treated as confidential.

For school-wide measures, the district agreed to work with an expert consultant to support and assist the district in creating a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment for students who are transgender or do not conform to gender stereotypes; amend its policies and procedures to reflect that gender-based discrimination, including discrimination based on a student’s gender identity, transgender status, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is a form of discrimination based on sex; and train administrators and faculty on preventing gender-based discrimination and creating a nondiscriminatory school environment for transgender students.

The United States closed the investigation as of July 24, 2013; however, the United States continued to monitor the implementation of the resolution agreement. The district agreed to provide documentation of its compliance with the agreement through written compliance reports, which were be produced to the United States on February 15 and August 15 of 2014, and annually thereafter on August 15 for each year this Agreement is in place. The provision in the agreement related to the student remained in place until he left the district. The other district-wide provisions were in place until the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

The report included a copy of all relevant policies, procedures, regulations, and related materials that were implemented, revised, or rescinded during the reporting period; a copy or detailed description of all gender-based discrimination or harassment complaints or incidents that occurred during the reporting period.

On July 10, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice approved the Arcadia Unified School District’s reports and resolved the case.

Ginny Lee - 02/23/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Elementary/Secondary School
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
Classification / placement
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Title IV, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Arcadia Unified School District
Plaintiff Description A transgender middle school student who wanted to use sex-specific facilities while at school
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2013 - 2015
Filed 2012
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
not recorded
Findings Letter
ED-CA-0023-0001.pdf | Detail
not recorded
Resolution Agreement
ED-CA-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0023-0001 | ED-CA-0023-0002
Zeidman, Arthur (California) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0023-0001 | ED-CA-0023-0002

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