Most children learn about the law in social studies class, but eight-year-old Nikki Shah-Brar is learning about it in person. That’s because she and her parents are suing the private school that refused to recognize her gender after she came out as a transgender girl.
The school administration told the family that Nikki couldn’t be called by her chosen name or female pronouns and that she would have to continue to wear the boy’s uniform and use the boy’s washroom. When the school refused to allow her to identify as a girl and did nothing to stop the severe bullying she was facing from other students, her parents pulled her out.
Their lawsuit against the school has three parts. First of all, they allege that the school discriminated against their daughter on the basis of her gender. Second of all, since the school billed itself as a community that was “nurturing” and “accepting of individual differences,” the parents allege that they were guilty of false business practices. Thirdly, since the school didn’t act on the bullying Shah-Brar faced, which was so severe that she talked about suicide, they allege the school engaged in reckless emotional neglect.
Shah Brar’s case might have been easier under the Obama administration, which has backed similar cases in the past.
The current administration, however, has rolled back guidelines that previously protected trans students in the public system.
And in July, President Trump told Department of Education lawyers that they could feel free to ignore complaints about bathroom access.
But it may still be possible for Shah-Brar and her family to win the case.
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