Transgender students file lawsuit against Oklahoma and state leaders over Senate Bill 615
The state and several state officials are facing a lawsuit from the ACLU of Oklahoma, the ACLU and Lambda Legal regarding Senate Bill 615.
“It’s a law that prohibits all transgender students in Oklahoma from using school restrooms that match their gender identity,” said Nicholas Guillory, Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow at Lambda Legal.
The 42-page federal lawsuit challenges the administration and implementation of the Senate bill. Lambda Legal said the law is unconstitutional and violates the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX.
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of three Oklahoma students.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that discriminating against someone because they are transgender is sex discrimination prohibited by law,” Guillory said.
The court document said Oklahoma’s legislative session and the 2022-2023 school year “have brought a cruel and prejudicial burden to plaintiffs simply because they happen to be transgender.”
“We have one student going to Noble Public Schools, another going to Moore Public Schools, and then another going to the Harding Independence Charter School District, sponsored by Oklahoma City Public Schools,” he said.
Noble Public Schools Superintendent Frank Solomon said, “Noble Public Schools does not comment on ongoing litigation.
The OKCPS said in a statement: “At this time, the OKCPS has not been informed of the lawsuit in question, so we have not had time to review or analyze the case.”
Moore Public Schools said, “To date, Moore Public Schools has not received official documentation of an ongoing lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oklahoma. MPS will continue to follow Oklahoma law as outlined in SB 615.”
News 9 has also contacted Harding Independence Charter District and is awaiting a response.
“Transgender people, especially transgender youth, have really been targeted in almost every state across the country, especially Oklahoma. Where this is the third bill targeting transgender people,” Guillory said.
The lawsuit is also against the Oklahoma State Department of Education, members of its board of trustees and state superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
The OSDE told News 9: “We have no statement on the lawsuit as it is pending.”
“While there hasn’t been a ruling in the 10th Circuit, where Oklahoma is located, there have been rulings in several other circuits that have cited in favor of trans students, so we know the law is on our side,” Guillory said.
One of the transgender students in the costume says he has always used the boy’s bathroom without any problems.
Another story this year as he returns for his senior year.
“We know that being able to use the restroom that matches their gender identity is vital to their transition,” Guillory said.
The Attorney General is also a defendant in the federal lawsuit. We asked for a comment and got no response.
“Hundreds of school districts across the country allow transgender students to use facilities based on their gender identity. I think the experience of these school districts across the country has shown that this is the best approach to ensure the safety and well-being of all students, not just transgender students,” Guillory said.