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A federal lawsuit against Tennessee’s transgender bathroom law is being dropped as the families of the two transgender minors who brought the suit are moving out of the state.
Back in August, a new law that allowed public school students and staff members to opt out of sharing a bathroom or locker room facilities with transgender individuals was contested on behalf of two Wilson County students and their parents. This suit was filed by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
The suit alleged that the law is discriminatory and requested that the federal court prohibit the enforcement of the law and to force Tennessee officials to instead enforce laws that would cater to transgender students.
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Governor Bill Lee and Attorney General Herbert Slatery were named in the complaint, along with the Wilson County Board of Education and Wilson County Schools Director Jeff Luttrell.
Those in favor of the law, however, argue that it creates a “clear path forward” for school administrators who wanted clarification on how to handle school bathroom access for all students.
The new law required public schools to provide accommodations for students who are not able or not willing to use multi-occupancy restrooms, locker rooms, showering facilities, or sleeping quarters.
If accommodations are requested and a student later happens to “encounter a person of the opposite sex in a multi-occupancy restroom,” the student would be able to sue the school system. The law defines “sex” as sex at birth rather than as gender identity.
The suit originally identified the two students only by their initials, but they were later identified as 14-year-old Alex and 6-year-old Ariel in statements made by the Human Rights Campaign. Alex would be attending a Wilson County high school in the fall.
Alex’s name was removed from the lawsuit after the family moved out of state in September. The mother said that she and her husband began discussing a move on a “near-daily” basis as soon as the law was enacted.
Ariel’s family notified the court that they were planning to leave Tennessee as soon as this school year is over.
They say that the decision was made “in light of recently enacted and proposed legislation in Tennessee affecting transgender rights, and in order to pursue a career opportunity for Plaintiff’s mother,” according to court documents.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Eli J. Richardson permitted a stay on the case. This would cancel the scheduled trial but would not officially dismiss the case until Ariel finishes the current school year.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com