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ACLU sues Missouri school district, claims transgender student attempted suicide over not being allowed in girls' restroom

Photo by Dünzl\ullstein bild via Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri is suing a Missouri school district for not allowing a teenage boy to use female restrooms.

The ACLU is taking up litigation with Platte County School District over a 16-year-old student identified only as R.F., after claiming the district's restroom policy caused the child to attempt suicide twice.

As reported by TimCast, the school district's policy has stated that students and staff must use only the restroom corresponding with their sex at birth, although neutral restrooms are available. The ACLU has acknowledged the latter in their press release.

"This forced R.F. into the impossible dilemma of using an impractical single-stall restroom where there was often a line as it was used by all students and risk missing or being late to class, using the boys’ restroom even though she is a transgender female, or using one of the many the girls’ restrooms and risk punishment. R.F. preferred to use one of the girls’ restrooms located throughout the school," the press release explained.

The ACLU said that a series of punishments resulting from using the wrong restroom were implemented, including verbal warnings followed by a suspension.

After using the boys' restroom upon returning from the suspension, the ACLU alleged the teenage boy was harassed and threatened with rape by another boy. They also claimed this led to anxiety and depression and forced the student to complete his first year of high school virtually.

“Dustan Farr, the student’s father, said the Platte County School District’s policies caused his daughter severe depression, leading her to attempt suicide twice," NPR reported.

“It’s just not right,” Farr said. “I could have lost my child, and I don’t want someone else to have to feel what I did.”

The ACLU has also claimed that the district’s policy violates Missouri’s Human Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause of the state’s Constitution.

“Forcing transgender students to use the bathroom or locker room that matches their sex designated at birth is not only discrimination but dangerous and causes serious harm to Missouri’s youth,” said Gillian Wilcox, deputy director of litigation at the ACLU of Missouri.

However, as a report from the Lion notes, the ACLU has actually acknowledged that the Missouri Human Rights Act does not cover “gender identity,” but only sex. The outlet wrote that the ACLU has argued to amend the legislation to redefine "sex" under the act to include gender identity and sexual orientation, which it does not currently include.

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