• Parent suing Duval schools over transgender bathroom use policy

    By: Samantha Manning, Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local mom is suing the Duval County school district over its policy that allows transgender students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity.

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Wryshona Isaac, a mother of four kids in the school district and it names Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and school board members as defendants.

    The lawsuit was filed five days after President Obama’s directive calling for all public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.

    It’s a policy Vitti said was already in place in Jacksonville but attorney Wes White said that’s not the case.

    White argues by the district complying with the president’s directive, the policy now applies to all bathrooms whereas White said the previous policy instead provided special accommodations for transgender students.

    “Let’s not try to rewrite the rules which have governed the behavior of kids since before we can all remember,” White said. “To simply overturn years and years of societal behaviors simply on a whim of the federal government I think is absolutely wrong and of course parents are going to be concerned.”

    The lawsuit claims the current policy denies the local mom’s children a “safe and supportive environment” and says it deprives them of their right to “bodily privacy.”

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    Supporters of the president’s policy said denying transgender students a choice in their facilities can lead to serious harm for the students.

    “Everything from depression, suicidality, all sorts of other unhealthy outcomes happen when people have to suppress their gender identity,” Dan Merkan, director of policy for JASMYN, said. “For those young people, it’s critical that they have the ability to express that gender, to live that gender because what we know is the folks that are kept from being who they are, it has a tremendous impact on their lives.”

    White said his client believes the policy is overreaching.

    “I think everybody wants to accommodate the special needs of students period, but they don’t want to do that on the backs of the vast majority of students who have other needs and other rights,” White said.

    Action News Jax asked DCPS for comment but the district declined saying it does not comment on pending litigation.

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