On July 19, 2016, Transgender Law Center and co-counsel Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC filed suit against the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin on behalf of Ash Whitaker, a transgender boy. Ash has been denied access to male-designated restrooms at his high school, subjected to daily surveillance and threatened with disciplinary action if he continued using the boys’ restrooms. The complaint alleges that these and other discriminatory actions—including a proposal that all transgender students be made to wear bright green wristbands in order to monitor their restroom use, school administrators’ insistence on using Ash’s birth name and female pronouns, and the school’s repeated isolation of Ash from his peers on overnight school trips—violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. For more information, click here.
In September 2016, a federal court ruled that the school must immediately halt its discriminatory policy of singling Ash out because he is transgender and allow him to use the boys’ restroom. The school district appealed this ruling, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case in March 2017.
In May 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in Ash’s favor, in a landmark decision holding that transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The school initially appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but ultimately withdrew their appeal and settled, leaving the Seventh Circuit precedent intact.
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- Complaint in Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 Board of Education and Sue Savaglio-Jarvis
District Court Documents
- Order Granting Preliminary Injunction
- Order Denying Motion to Stay Preliminary Injunction
- Motion for Preliminary Injunction
- Brief in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction
- Ashton Whitaker Declaration
- R. Nicholas Gorton Declaration
- Melissa Whitaker Declaration
- Jenifer McGuire Declaration
- Tim Kenney Declaration
- Bryan Davis Declaration
- Judy Chiasson Declaration
- Dear Colleague Letter
- U.S. Department of Education, Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students
- Kenosha USD’s Motion to Dismiss
- Amended order denying motion to dismiss
- Order denying motion to reconsider
- Order denying motion to stay preliminary injunction
Appeal of Preliminary Injunction
- Seventh Circuit decision upholding preliminary injunction
- Plaintiff-Appellee’s response to motion to stay preliminary injunction and supplemental exhibits
- Order denying stay
- KUSD’s Appellate Brief
- Plaintiff-Appellee’s brief
- Amicus briefs in support of preliminary injunction:
- US Department of Education Dear Colleague Letter
- Rule 28(j) Certification
- Certificate of Service
Listen to the audio recording of the hearing here.
[toggle title=”Images for Media/Press of Ashton and Melissa Whitaker“]
Please credit Transgender Law Center.
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Groundbreaking 7th Circuit Ruling in Favor of Ash Whitaker, Transgender Student Seeking Access to Correct Bathroom
Media Coverage Highlights: