A year after the announcement that a transgender student had been accepted to a school in southern Louisiana, it remains unclear how much the announcement is responsible for her eventual acceptance.
The Louisiana School for Gifted Children is the only school in the state to offer a transgender-inclusive curriculum, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana.
In addition to her acceptance into the school, she will receive a diploma from the school and be eligible to work as a teacher.
She was also awarded a “permission to work in a non-denominational, inclusive setting,” according to her bio on the school’s website.
A report released by the organization found that there were “a few incidents in which students had to wear the uniform of a female, and some were referred to as girls and sometimes had to use female pronouns.”
The report also found that the school has no policies regarding bathrooms and locker rooms for transgender people, which is contrary to the law.
“This school has created a policy where they’re going to have a gender neutral locker room,” said Melissa St. John, the director of the Louisiana LGBT Center.
“But there are bathrooms and showers that are not gender neutral.
So that’s what we’re seeing as a result.”BARTENDING SCHOOL FOR TRANSGENDERS IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUEIn 2014, Louisiana enacted a law requiring transgender people to use the restroom of their birth sex, regardless of what gender they identify as.
The law was signed into law in 2017 and requires public schools to have “gender neutral” bathrooms and changing rooms, including in bathrooms that are designated for female use.
In Louisiana, schools that have not received approval to use a gender-neutral bathroom or locker room must open the doors and facilities for transgender and gender-nonconforming students to use restrooms and locker room facilities that match their gender identity.
The new law does not apply to schools that receive federal funds for their education.
But it does require schools to adopt “a policy of inclusion” that includes transgender and transgender-related information in the school day schedule and staff training.
In 2018, the ACLU of Louisiana filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming the law violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law and the US Constitution.
In its lawsuit, the group asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction requiring the Louisiana School Board to allow transgender students to be housed in separate facilities for their use.
The court granted that request.
But the ACLU’s lawsuit was filed in federal court, not Louisiana’s state court, because the law does “not have the force of law,” said Lauren Young, an attorney with the ACLU in Baton Rouge.
The federal government has the final say over how schools are funded.
The government could still deny the school funding, but it’s not likely, Young said.
While the law allows transgender people who identify as female to use bathrooms that match the gender they were assigned at birth, there are some exceptions, according in the lawsuit.
If a school denies a student access to a restroom or locker, the student is not required to use that bathroom or change room and can return to the designated gender.
If an employee or student is denied access to restrooms or locker rooms that match a student’s gender, the school can use the same bathroom and locker facility for them.
The school can also opt out of having a transgender bathroom or changing room, Young noted.
However, in order for the lawsuit to succeed, the plaintiff has to be able to prove the school was denied its equal protection rights under the 14-19 Amendment.
Young said it’s unclear how the plaintiffs can prove that the Louisiana school had the right to refuse the student access because of her gender identity, but the plaintiff should be able “to show that the law violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
If the school does not provide accommodations to transgender students, then they should be allowed to use their restroom or change rooms as they please, said Young.