The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education is investigating the case of a 5-year-old girl who allegedly was sexually assaulted by a “gender fluid” classmate, a boy, in a restroom in a Georgia public school.
The case is a direct result of the Obama administration’s guidance to schools that redefined Title IX requirements, forcing schools to accommodate “gender identity” in facilities such as restrooms and showers. Critics have argued the guidance conflicts with the definition of male and female established in Title IX, the 1972 law that bars discrimination in educational programs on the basis of “sex.”
The Obama administration’s letter to schools essentially said they must allow boys who say they are girls to use restrooms, locker rooms and showers provided for girls, and vice versa. Non-compliance would risk federal funding upon which virtually all public schools rely.
The Trump administration immediately overturned the Obama guidance, but the Decatur, Georgia, school admitted it was operating under the old rules.
The Education Department said it will investigate whether or not “the district failed to provide a prompt and equitable response to a report that a student was subjected to sexual assault, and, as a result, was subjected to a sexually hostile environment, including whether the district implementation of the policy contributed to creation of a hostile environment for the student and other girls, in noncompliance with Title IX.”
Also, it will examine whether the district retaliated against the victim’s mother by reporting her for investigation by the state Family and Child Services after she reported the crime.
“This situation was both deeply tragic and avoidable,” said Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending the assault victim.
“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students and Decatur Schools clearly failed this young girl. The current approach that many schools are taking of passing these transgender bathroom policies isn’t working; they fail to provide basic privacy or ensure the safety of all students.”
According to documents submitted in the case, Supt. David Dude announced to staff “a policy that required all Decatur Schools to admit boys who identify as female into girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and shower areas on school premises … based solely on the stated preference of the individual student.”
Even though Dude and the board repeatedly were warned of the dangers the policy posed, they made no efforts to protect young girls who could be exposed to attack.
Consequently, the complaint says, in November 2017, “a boy was permitted – because of the policy – to enter the girls’ restroom, where he assaulted the girl.”
ADF said that “when the girl’s mother reported the sexual assault, the school responded by targeting her for a Department of Family and Children Services investigation.”
“The investigation found no wrongdoing on the mother’s part but exposed the family to further indignity.”
The school still has taken “no known corrective action,” and the mother was forced to move her child to another school.
“A school’s top priority is to protect the safety and bodily privacy of its students, period,” said ADF-allied attorney Vernadette Broyles of the Georgia Adoption & Family Law Practice, who co-filed the complaint with ADF. “Decatur school’s policies have created a stressful, unfair, and, as in this case, even unsafe environment – particularly for girls. We are grateful that OCR is investigating this tragedy, and we hope the agency helps this school district and others adopt commonsense solutions that protect the privacy and safety of all students.”
Hear the mother of the girl who allegedly was sexually assault in a public school bathroom by a boy: