Transgender teen wins lawsuit against St. Johns County School Board

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — READ | Court document: Findings of fact and conclusions of law

A local Nease High School student sued the St. Johns County School Board over claims of discrimination and won.

Thursday a federal judge ruled in favor of 17-year-old Drew Adams.

Adams, who is transgender, will head into his senior year of high school knowing he can use the bathroom of his choice.

“I can go into my senior year focusing on college applications, IB testing instead of lawsuits,” said Drew Adams.

For Adams, 17, this is one less thing to worry about as he starts his senior year at Nease High School in two weeks.

“Now I can finally be like any other kid at my school, like any other boy, and I’m really excited about that,”  he said.

A federal judge said he can now use the boys' bathroom,

“I’ve been all smiles,” said Adams.

READ | Court document: Final Judgment

Last June, Adams and his mother sued the St. Johns County School Board after he was told he could only use the gender neutral or girls' restroom.

Adams was born a girl, but has been living as a boy since 2015, and used the boys' restroom when he started his freshman year at Nease without any incident. At some point, Adams said someone anonymously reported that he was using the boy’s restroom, and he was no longer able to use it.

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A federal judge disagreed. In his ruling the judge said, “but the evidence is that Drew Adams poses no threat to the privacy or safety of his fellow students. When it comes to his use of the bathroom, the law requires that he be treated like any other boy.”

Adam’s attorney, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said Thursday’s ruling sets the stage for other transgender cases.

“I think it will show to other school districts across Florida and across the country that they better watch out, and they can’t discriminate (against) transgender students. Otherwise they will be subject to lawsuits because they will be violating the Constitution and federal civil rights law,” he said.

“Today is a reminder for me that we can always have hope, and we always need to have hope,” said Adams.

The school district will have to pay $1,000 in damages and attorney fees to Adams.