Attorneys for a female Pennsylvania high school student filed a federal complaint last week alleging her privacy was violated and that she was subjected to sexual harassment when a transgender student was using the same locker room, WNEP-TV reported.
The Honesdale High School incident occurred at the beginning of this school year, according to the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Division, the station said.
What allegedly happened?
Lawyers for the student posted a video online describing what they say happened. The unnamed female student appears in the clip and said "while I was putting on my pants I heard a man's voice, so I turned around, and he's standing there on the opposite aisle looking at me. I glanced down and could tell that he was wearing women's underwear and what was underneath it."
She added: "When I knew that a man was looking at me, I felt very violated and very scared — especially looking at me while I'm getting dressed."
Attorney Andrea Shaw added in the video that "opening up restrooms and locker rooms to members of the opposite sex is sexual harassment. Like most forms of sexual harassment, the girls in this school have little power over their situation. The school's only solution for my client was for her to wait outside the locker room until the individual of the opposite sex was finished changing, and then she went in and was late for gym class and also late for her second period class."
"The school's offered solution made it clear that they believed that my client was the problem," Shaw also said in the clip.
The female student's parents also speak in the video, and they aren't identified. WNEP added that their names are blacked out in the complaint.
What did the school district have to say?
The superintendent of Wayne Highlands School District said he's unable to comment on the incident or complaint but did say the district's policy aligns with a recent court decision allowing transgender students to use the facilities of their choosing.
What did observers have to say?
WNEP said few people would speak on camera about their reaction to the complaint but indicated off camera they support the female student and her family.
Some observers commenting on the Facebook page for the Law Office of Andrew H. Shaw, which is handling the case, also sided with the complaining female student, others were decidedly against her and her attorneys:
- "Maybe the girl should take a course in how to be tolerant of others who are different. Now that would be the Christian way."
- "Sounds like your client is the one who is guilty of voyeurism. WTF is she doing checking out other people's genitals? Shameful ambulance chasers."
- "The student called the trans student a 'man.' I think we all know where this hate is coming from. From her parents. Using 'man' is scary! Transphobia is bigotry."
- "F*** you transphobes."