Wisconsin school district can’t restrict bathrooms for transgender student, federal judge says

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked a Wisconsin school district from requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth while a lawsuit plays out against the school.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman said Thursday that the Mukwonago Area School District must allow a transgender student to use facilities that align with their gender identity, temporarily blocking a policy approved last month by the school board, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The order comes in a lawsuit brought anonymously by an 11-year-old transgender student and her mother. The judge ruled that the school’s policy was causing emotional and mental harm to the student, who was described as a boy at birth but has identified as a girl since she was three years old.

According to court documents, school officials have monitored which bathrooms the student uses and forced her to go to boys’ bathrooms or gender-neutral bathrooms at Mukwonago High School, where she is enrolled in summer school classes.

Adelman ruled that the student’s case was likely to succeed at trial, citing a similar case in Kenosha in 2017, in which a judge held that a school could not block a transgender student from using bathrooms that matched their gender identity.

The Village of Mukwonago is located in conservative Waukesha County, a Milwaukee suburb that has been key to Republican victories in the state. Across the country, Republican lawmakers have passed measures in recent years to restrict which bathrooms transgender students can use in public schools and universities.