United States – Blue Springs, Missouri. A jury ordered a school district to pay a former student $ 4 million in a discrimination case after being denied access to the boys‘ school locker rooms and washrooms.
A student at Delta Woods Middle School, identified as RJ Appleberry, began to see herself as a boy in 2010.
Rachelle Appleberry, RJ’s mother, has asked the Blue Springs R-IV School District to allow her child to use the locker rooms and men’s washrooms. The school district denied the request.
In 2014, RJ went through legal proceedings to obtain a name change and the change of the sex marker on his birth certificate to “male”.
RJ’s mother again requested that the school district authorize the child, who competed on the eighth-grade boys’ football and track teams in addition to other track and field and physical education activities, to use locker rooms and washrooms with male students.
The school district responded that RJ could not use the male facilities because the student still had female genitalia. According to court documents, RJ was offered accommodation of a “separate bathroom, for single and unisex outside the boys’ locker room.”
RJ claimed to feel isolated and inferior to male students “due to the denial of access to boys’ locker rooms and toilets” and “chose not to participate in fall sports for the 2014-2015 school year. at the Freshman Center, ”court documents show.
The student filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in late 2014, alleging discrimination.
In 2015, RJ filed a lawsuit against the Blue Springs R-IV School District, claiming that she had been denied access to the men’s locker rooms and washrooms because she “allegedly had female genitalia.” It was an act of discrimination “based on his [the Plaintiff’s] sex, “because” the defendants do not speculate, inspect or learn about the genitals of other male students, “the lawsuit alleged. “The defendants discriminated against and continue to discriminate against the RMA plaintiff”
The case was dismissed in 2016, with lawyers for the school district successfully arguing that Missouri’s human rights law did not protect gender identity.
The case was appealed in December and went to a jury, which ruled the student’s case was covered by human rights law.
Katie Woolf, spokesperson for the Blue Springs School District, said in a statement: “The district does not agree with the verdict and will seek appropriate relief from the trial court and the court of appeals if necessary.” The school district said it honored the student’s decision, but “drew a reasonable line when it came to changing clothes.”