Four Michigan girls are suing their school alleging biological males were allowed into their bathrooms and locker room, forcing female students to endure harassment and discrimination.
The suit was filed on Aug. 25 by Matthew DePerno, a Portage attorney, on behalf of the four plaintiffs, who are all minors, against Vicksburg Community Schools, the superintendent and the principal.
The students allege the district violated the 14th Amendment, Title IX and other statutes by allowing biological males who identified as transgender to use private women’s spaces.
“Differences in anatomy is the only reason for separate facilities,” the lawsuit reads. “Were there not differences in anatomy, there would be no privacy interests justifying separate facilities in the first place.
“These differences do not disappear when biological males self-identify as females, and vice versa.”
The school’s policy decision was prompted by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signing of a bill in March that provided civil rights protections for gender identity and sexual orientation.
When female students complained about the policy, the school told them that “the law was settled” and they should “tolerate it,” “look away,” and not “bully” the transgender students, the lawsuit claims.
But the plaintiffs and other students remained fearful and often avoided the girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, even to the point of holding their urine the entire day.
In PE class, female students were also forced to strip naked in front of male students and witness male students do the same, according to the suit.
At a school board meeting on Aug. 14, district parents had a lot to say about the situation.
“My concern is that our daughters and sons could become victims of non-physical contact sexual abuse,” said one parent, according to the lawsuit. “Non-touching behaviors that are considered to be child sexual abuse include watching a child undress or use the bathroom often without the child’s knowledge or exposing a person’s genitals to a child or asking a child to expose themselves.
“If this administration’s stance is to force our daughters (biological females) into accepting biological males into their restrooms and locker rooms and vice-versa, I believe that this is not only immoral and indecent, I believe it meets standards of child sexual abuse.”
Another parent also noted the health risks of not being able to use the bathroom.
“As a healthcare professional in Women’s Health, I can tell you it is extremely dangerous for these young girls to dehydrate themselves to where they are using the restroom one time during a seven-hour school day,” the parent said. “These girls are being placed at risk for not only dehydration but urinary tract infections, kidney infection, bowel disfunction; and not to mention the added health risks of only using the bathroom one time a day when it is that time of the month for a girl!”
The healthcare professional also brought up the risk of sexual assault in bathrooms. Although no cases have been reported in Vicksburg, boys have sexually and physically assaulted female students in bathrooms elsewhere.
“Is anyone on the board willing for the ‘first’ victim to be their daughter or granddaughter?” the parent asked.
Indecent exposure is a serious offense with consequences such as hefty fines, registering as a sex offender, or even life imprisonment.