Transgender student rally at FCPS HQ BB

People attend a transgender student rally at the Frederick County Public Schools headquarters.

A Frederick County Public Schools student claims her privacy will be violated as a result of the district’s transgender policy that was approved this summer, according to a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Maryland against the Frederick County Board of Education and Superintendent Theresa Alban, was filed by a 15-year-old girl under the pseudonym Mary Smith, and her mother, identified as Jane Doe.

The girl, a high school student at a Frederick County school, alleges her fundamental right to bodily privacy is being intentionally violated because of the recently passed transgender policy. The mother’s “fundamental parental rights to the care, custody, control, upbringing and information regarding her child is also being intentionally violated,” according to the lawsuit.

The transgender policy allows students to use whichever bathroom aligns with their gender identity. It also allows athletes to participate in sports that align with their gender identity and room with students of the same gender on overnight school trips.

Board of Education President Brad Young said it was too early in the process for the board to comment in response to the lawsuit, which was filed late last week.

Alban said in a text message that it would be premature to make any comment regarding the suit.

The 15-year-old plaintiff alleges that she is a victim and her school failed to adequately monitor bathrooms, which allowed a “female student [to] video her on her phone and to then distribute photos of her body.”

The lawsuit does not make clear if that alleged violation had anything to do with a transgender student. It is also unclear whether the incident occurred before or after the policy was approved in mid-June.

Because the policy was passed during the summer, there have been no full school days since the policy was put in effect.

The lawsuit argues that the transgender policy encourages teachers and school officials to keep student information from parents.

The lawsuit adds that the plaintiff Mary Smith and girls like her are avoiding school bathrooms altogether because of privacy and safety concerns.

Dan Cox, a former Republican candidate for Congress and candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in 2018, is the attorney in the case. The lawsuit comes less than two months after Cox offered public comment at the Board of Education meeting before the policy was passed. At the time, Cox implied that the board could be subjecting itself to a lawsuit because of the policy.

The plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction on the policy and demanding the school district communicate with parents regarding all issues pertaining to a student’s sexuality or gender identity. It also demands that only females be allowed to use the female bathrooms in schools, and that males be barred from competing with females in athletics.

Last week, the board began a discussion of the policy’s accompanying regulation, which is designed to bring more clarity for teachers and parents in regards to training and implementation.

With much of the policy’s opposition revolving around privacy concerns from parents, the regulation sought to calm those fears.

“Every effort shall be made to encourage and support communication between transgender and gender non-conforming students and the student’s parent/guardian, unless there is a health or safety concern,” the regulation said. “Schools may offer to meet jointly with the parent/guardian and the student at school. School staff shall work to both support student needs as well as respect the rights of the parent/guardian to have access to student records in compliance with federal and state law.”

Because of the vast array of possible scenarios, however, the board is weighing its options to create specific overarching policies — such as a bathroom policy, or a parental notification policy.

“Whether it’s the size of the kids on the football team, or what have you, we’ve talked about some really important issues,” school board member Liz Barrett said of the policy and regulation. “But, for some reason, we’ve had all of those important conversations just about kids who are transgender or gender non-conforming.

“If we’re talking about liability issues, or how our counselors work with our students, let’s do that separate [from the regulation]. ... It’s not just students who are transgender who are at risk.”

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler.

(14) comments

AstuteBusinessWoman

An example of a policy, admittedly (in the article) one-sided and not thought through before put into place. Big issues of safety (both in the facility and sports) privacy, cost, liability. Glad to hear someone is taking a stand. I hope this does not turn out to be a big waste of tax dollars...

matts853

"But, for some reason, we’ve had all of those important conversations just about kids who are transgender or gender non-conforming."

Liz, you know the reason - it's you! You're the head of the policy committee that put together a policy that has little to do about transgender kids at all. You totally shut out privacy concerns raised by April Miller during the policy committee meetings. You also marketed this policy to a very narrow set of people to support it.

This policy has far more to do with gender identity than true transgender. They are NOT the same thing. And It simply does not follow the intent or the spirit of state law, plain and simple. Kids do not have a legal right to merely identify as a person of a different gender and in turn get to use bathrooms, locker rooms, or play sports of the opposite sex. Liz, you made this personal and went too far.

I don't mind the policy nearly as much as I mind the politics and lack of transparency behind it. It's just total nonsense.

Former Naval Person

Regarding the ability of transathletes to compete in sports against natal boys and girls, there are an increasing number of instances where transgirls are winning events (or placing in the top three) in track and field or weight lifting. In some cases, the transgirls has not even started HRT or testosterone blockers, such as the person who won state titles in the 100 and 200 meter races in Connecticut. While the athlete certainly felt good about that, the competitors who ran against a physical male (whose times would have resulted in a last place finish in both races on the boys' side) were unlikely to feel the same way. In Alaska, a fourth place finisher (who was behind the transgirl third place finisher) would have qualified for the next round of championship races but for having an XY competitor in the field. At some point female athletes will doubtless find themselves in a situation where they may lose out on an athletic scholarship as a result of competing against XY competitors. Doesn't seem quite fair to me.

threecents

I agree that should be addressed but it is an extremely rare problem. Remember Rene Richards in the 1970s. There are fake news stories on this, so take what you read with a grain of salt.

jerseygrl42

this is very bad policy but typical from the lefties...hope the Mom and daughter win their case...

shiftless88

I don't understand their case at all. What did the policy have to do with the incident? It hasn't been in place yet?

Robbbobb4863

Bad policy....another to give free pass to perverts....make a third bathroom for the trans people....should have the money cause the roads surely can't be getting any....Time to vote for new mayor....a republican this time....SMH :)

Jleftwich

Quote: "...another to give free pass to perverts".
Then the problem ain't LGBT students now, is it?

Quote: "Time to vote for a new mayor".
You seem confused. This is a Frederick County Public Schools policy; a "mayor" has nothing to do with FCPS policy. The Board of Education is an elected body that oversees FCPS policies.

Nicki

[thumbup] jleftwich

User1

That's not the issue. They were offered a separate bathroom BUT that wasn't enough. They then complained about being "singled out". Remember, this also includes using the shower facilities of their choice. Remember, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case of the trans H.S. girl who wanted to use the boys facilities and such. Interesting to see what happens. Hope she wins.

i heart frederick

You know the mayor has no influence over this, right?

DimplesPhoto

I'm very sorry this alleged incident took place, however, transgender students will still need to use the bathroom. As a parent of 3 FCPS students I'm very happy to see the schools putting in place rules that will ensure the safety of LGBT students.

iamcaffeine

I agree. As the parent of FCPS students, I welcome policy that protects transgender children's safety. I think dignity for all is good for everyone.

i heart frederick

Here's an insane idea, your children should use the bathroom that corresponds with their physical characteristics. That keeps everyone safe. You aren't concerned with children's safety as much as you are about advertising your narrative. At the EXPENSE of children's safety.

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