Suit challenging Md. school system’s transgender policy dropped

WASHINGTON — A federal lawsuit that was filed in response to a Maryland school system’s policy regarding transgender students has been dismissed, school officials said Wednesday.

The suit challenged a measure in Frederick County Public Schools that allows students to choose which bathroom to use based on the gender with which they identify.

Brad Young, president of the county’s board of education, said the case was dismissed by the judge earlier this month “without prejudice,” meaning the plaintiff, or anyone else, has the right to bring the suit back at a future date if they choose to do so.

“We are unaware at this point if the plaintiff is going to do that,” Young said. “Certainly, if they do, the system is ready to defend our policy.”

Attorney Daniel Cox, who filed the suit in August, said he was working on behalf of a 15-year-old girl at Frederick County High School.

Cox argued that the school system’s policy violated the student’s fundamental right to bodily privacy.

“The purpose of her suit was to protect her own privacy and the rights of girls to not have to undress in front of the opposite sex in their own bathrooms,” he said. “Her personal dignity is at the forefront of our interests.”

The suit also claimed that the transgender policy violated the fundamental parental rights of the girl’s mother regarding the care and upbringing of her child.

According to Cox, the suit was dropped after the teen experienced stress and bullying associated with the litigation.

“It’s a very challenging case,” Cox said. “These are important but very difficult issues.”

In addition to governing the use of bathrooms, the school system’s policy, adopted in June, allows transgender students to participate in sports aligned with their gender identity. That means a student born a boy could play girls’ sports, and a student born a girl could play boys’ sports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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