Today, U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper denied a motion by Kenosha Unified School District to stay the preliminary injunction she issued last month granting our client Ash Whitaker access to the boys’ restroom at school.
“We are very happy with today’s ruling as it means, at least for now, that Ash will be able to continue using the restroom at school without fear of harassment. It’s unacceptable for a school to single out a student and force him to use a separate bathroom from all other students just because of who he is, and we hope that the school district will end its campaign to discriminate against Ash,” said Ilona Turner, Legal Director at Transgender Law Center.
In her initial order granting the preliminary injunction, Judge Pepper wrote, “The plaintiff’s spending his last school year trying to avoid using the restroom, living in fear of being disciplined, feeling singled out and stigmatized, being subject to fainting spells or migraines, is not harm that can be rectified by a monetary judgment, or even an award of injunctive relief, after a trial that could take place months or years from now.”
Transgender Law Center, Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, and Pledl & Cohn, S.C. are representing Ash. The school district has appealed the judge’s ruling granting the preliminary injunction to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It asked Judge Pepper to stay the preliminary injunction while that appeal is pending.
In today’s ruling denying the stay, Judge Pepper stated, “Every argument which the defendants raise in their motion for stay pending appeal was raised in their objection to the motion for preliminary injunction, and the parties argued every one of those issues at the September 20, 2016 hearing. The court found in favor of the plaintiff, and against the defendants, on each factor. The defendants give no explanation for why the court should find in their favor now, when eight days prior to their filing this motion to stay, the court found against them on exactly the same issues they raise here.”