CHARLESTON, West Virginia – A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a West Virginia transgender man allegedly harassed by a deputy director while he was attempting to use the boys' bathroom, the latest in a series of court challenges to school policies applicable to transgender students nationwide.
The lawsuit filed in a state court accuses the Harrison County Education Council of failing to create a safe school environment for teenager Michael Critchfield, the Union said Wednesday. American Civil Liberties in a press release.
The ACLU said Deputy Director Lee Livengood followed Critchfield into the boys' bathroom in November at Liberty High School and said, "You make me panic." Critchfield said that he had also been ordered to prove his sex using a urinal. He was 15 years old at the time.
"Schools are supposed to protect students," said Critchfield. "I say from the beginning that I am doing this to help other children who are facing the same kind of treatment."
Loree Stark, legal director of the ACLU, called the suit "of last resort". She claims unspecified damages and prevents Livengood from having contact with Critchfield and her family.
The ACLU previously sought policies and training on best practices in the school system to deal with the problems of transgender students, but it was not immediately clear if these requirements were met. Deputy County Schools Director James Lopez did not immediately return a phone message. Livengood refused to comment on the trial.
Wheeling lawyer Teresa Toriseva, who represents Critchfield, said, "What happened to Michael should not happen to any child." For four long minutes, Michael was held against his will by a man twice as much. big that he and in position of authority, who shouted at him and demanded that he expose himself. "
According to Critchfield, the school group was preparing to take a bus trip after school to Morgantown to attend a show at the University of West Virginia. Critchfield said that he had gone to the bathroom and had checked if anyone stood near a urinal before going to a stall.
Livengood then opened the bathroom door and asked if there were students in the stall. Critchfield responded and when he left the stand, Livengood stood in the bathroom entrance and prevented Critchfield from leaving.
Critchfield remembered that Livengood had repeatedly shouted, "Why are you here, you should not be here."
Critchfield responded that he was legally entitled to use this bathroom. He added that Livengood had used incorrect pronouns when he was referring to Critchfield and had challenged him to use a urinal to prove that he was a boy.
Livengood's lawyer, Alex Shook, had argued that his client was unaware of Critchfield's gender identity and that he had not been informed of An arrangement made between Critchfield and the principal to use the boys' toilets.
Livengood was suspended with pay but allowed to return after a holiday break. In March, the board of directors decided not to renew his contract after a probationary period of three years, then resigned a month later and reinstated him.
Earlier this month, a Virginia federal judge ruled that a ban on transgender toilets from the school board discriminated against a former student, Gavin Grimm.
The Gloucester County School Board has announced its intention to appeal this decision. Board policy required Grimm, a transgender man, to use girls' private toilets or bathrooms. Grimm graduated in 2017 from Gloucester High School, located in a predominantly rural area about 95 km east of Richmond.
The Grimm lawsuit became a federal pilot case when it was supported by the administration of then President Barack Obama. A hearing before the US Supreme Court in 2017 was canceled after President Donald Trump overturned an Obama-era directive that students could choose a bathroom matching their gender identity.
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