The St Johns County School District is in federal district court this week defending their refusal to allow a Nease High School teenager, F2M transgender student Drew Adams, to use the same restrooms reserved for boys, because Adams was born a female.
Historic City News reported earlier this year when Adams’ mother, Erica Adams Kasper, filed her initial complaint; first with the school district and then, through her attorneys, with the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Monday December 11, 2017 was the first day of the trial.
“So it’s a policy that’s adopted by a committee. It’s never been adopted by the school board. It’s never been adopted by the school district,” Judge Timothy Corrigan asked the school district’s lawyers. “Yet it’s being enforced to the point of federal litigation?”
The school district argues that its policies requiring transgender students to use the bathroom of the sex they were assigned at birth, don’t discriminate against the students — because the school also offers a gender-neutral restroom. Adams reportedly changed his clothes and his hair, he underwent surgery and began hormone treatment, and for about six weeks, he used the boy’s bathroom without incident.
According to testimony in court, 17-year-old Adams “came out” as a transgender boy in his freshman year and asked that he be treated like any other boy.
This is not a jury trial. Corrigan has been questioning witnesses and lawyers since Tuesday in an effort to determine if St. Johns County Public Schools violated the rights of the transgender teen by refusing to let him use the boy’s bathroom.
- Retired St Johns County director of student services, Sallyanne Smith, said she was concerned that allowing transgender students into the bathroom of their gender identities could lead to privacy or safety issues. “There’s always safety concerns when you’re dealing with restrooms in schools,” Smith explained. “They’re not supervised. There are no cameras in there. Kids will be kids. In my mind, it was just adding another element of a safety issue for the transgender student or any other child in there.”
- Corrigan asked Smith if she was aware of any situation in any school district where a transgender student was involved in any bathroom incident. Smith’s testimony was that she was not aware of any such situation.
- When the judge asked Cathy Mittelstadt, the district’s deputy superintendent for operations, if Adams was considered a girl or boy, she testified, “He is transitioning as a boy; but, biologically, he is still a female.”
The trial continues but is expected to wrap up this week.