Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alaska filed litigation against the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBSD) over its preventing transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity (Policy No. 5134 BP). The MSBSD board approved this policy in October 2022.
The ACLU of Alaska is representing a set of parents bringing the case on behalf of their transgender son. Under this policy, every day, their child faces mental and physical challenges because he is denied access to the boys’ bathrooms, even though he is a boy.
MSBSD Policy 5134 BP infringes on the student's constitutional right to privacy because it violates his fundamental right to make his own choices about his body, his name, his gender identity, and the appropriate bathroom for him to use. This policy also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Alaska constitution because it treats transgender students differently than other students.
"The MSBSD has forgotten its obligation to protect young people, as well as the constitutional rights that all students – regardless of their gender identity – are entitled to," said Ruth Botstein, Legal Director for the ACLU of Alaska. "The student just wants to be able to go to school like any other kid, to focus on learning and socializing with his peers, and not have constant stress and anxiety about where and when he is going to be able to use the bathroom."
In November, the ACLU of Alaska, with the Northern Justice Project, filed a lawsuit against MSBSD for its unconstitutional removal of 56 book titles from district library shelves. Many of the removed book titles include LGBTQIA+ characters and queer protagonists. In January, the organizations filed a preliminary injunction to put the removed titles back on shelves; a court date has not been set.
The parents and student would like to remain anonymous. The school name has also been redacted to maintain the student’s anonymity.