A North Carolina high school student who is transgender has filed suit against the institution claiming that the kidney disease she has suffered with since birth was exacerbated after she decided to become a boy but was denied use of the boy’s bathroom.
The suit against the Cleveland Board of Education, Superintendent Stephen Fisher, and Kings Mountain High School Principal Julie Rikard was filed in late January. The suit was first reported by a local newspaper, the Shelby Star.
The newspaper said the biologically female student, who is now a senior, is referred to in the lawsuit as “John Doe.”
The suit says the student, who was a female at birth but began gender transition before his freshman year, was discriminated against by the school district, whose policy prevented him from using bathrooms that match his gender ID.
Court documents say the student and his mother informed the high school before his freshman year that he identified as a male, asking that he be permitted to utilize bathrooms designated for boys.
The suit alleges that Rikard denied the request, saying he was only permitted to use girls’ restrooms.
“Because I am a boy I could not use the girls’ restroom comfortably and ended up avoiding the restroom for the entirety of the year,” the teen said in a sworn statement.
In some instances, the suit states, the student had an emergency but girls at the school would laugh at him “because they knew he was trans and made fun of me for having to use the girls’ restroom.”
The teen started taking testosterone during her sophomore year and was told she could use a separate teachers’ bathroom but claimed she would get “looks” from teachers.
As such, Doe says in the suit that he would simply reduce his bathroom use to going as few times as possible, which he claims his doctors told him worsened a kidney condition he’s had since birth.
“In addition to the escalation in his anxiety and distress that has resulted from Kings Mountain High School’s refusal to let John access the restroom on equal terms as other boys, John’s kidney function has also been compromised as a result of his lack of access to appropriate restroom facilities,” said Dr. Deanna Adkins, a pediatric endocrinologist whose bio at Duke University said she treats “adolescent gender care,” who has been the teen’s doctor since 2017.
“Adkins and one other doctor also sent letters to KMHS recommending the school allow the student to use the boys’ bathrooms nearest to his classroom, both for his physical and mental health,” the Shelby Star reported.
The paper quotes School Board Chairwoman Shearra Miller, who said, “We made an accommodation for the student that we felt was in the best interest of the student at the time.”
A judge has issued a temporary restraining order to allow Doe to use the male bathrooms at the school ahead of a hearing this week.