BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A transgender teen joins a lawsuit protecting the rights of students in Frederick County public schools.
Frederick County Public Schools are getting help in their fight to protect the rights of transgender students, from one of the students who could be impacted by a federal lawsuit.
Back in June, the Frederick County School board gave the green light on new policies protecting transgendered students.
Among the changes, transgender students are allowed to use the bathroom they most feel comfortable with.
“Being able to use the correct facilities at schools is affirmation for all transgender students that they fit in and that they belong in school,” says James Van Kuilenberg, who is a transgender student at Governor Thomas Johnson High School, and praised the move.
The policy also allows transgender students to participate in sports of their identity .
“Frederick has been very welcoming and affirming of their trans students,” says Van Kuilenberg.
With the help of Baltimore-based Freestate Justice, he’s now teaming up with the school board to defend the rights of transgender students.
“These privacy claims that we see time and time again seem to be a generalized reflections. I would call it fear,” says Jennifer Kent, with Freestate Justice.
In August, a student and her mom filed a lawsuit against Frederick County Public Schools, challenging the policies, claiming the changes violates her rights to privacy.
In the 34-page complaint, the 15-year-old student says the changes also violate federal laws.
In a statement to WJZ, the Frederick County School board says they “appreciate community feedback and encouragement to ensure all students feel safe and welcome.”
“I think there has been a real learning curve if people are willing to listen and understand and not let fear or hatred dominate,” says Van Kuilenberg.
The school is currently seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed.