Florida transgender teen wins lawsuit against school board

A Florida teen won a lawsuit against the St. Johns County School Board and now can use the boys' bathroom.
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A Florida teen won a lawsuit against the St. Johns County School Board and now can use the boys' bathroom.

Credit: Morguefile

Credit: Morguefile

A federal judge ruled in favor of a Florida high school student who sued the St. Johns County School Board over claims of discrimination.

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Drew Adams, 17, who is transgender, will head into his senior year at Nease High School knowing he can use the bathroom of his choice.

“I can go into my senior year focusing on college applications, IB testing instead of lawsuits,” Adams said. “Now I can finally be like any other kid at my school, like any other boy, and I’m really excited about that.”

A federal judge said he can now use the boys' bathroom,

“I’ve been all smiles,” Adams said.

Last June, Adams and his mother sued the St. Johns County School Board after he was told he could only use the gender neutral or girls' restroom.

Adams used the boys' restroom when he started his freshman year at Nease without any incident. At some point, Adams said someone anonymously reported that he was using the boys’ restroom, and he was no longer able to use it.

A federal judge disagreed. In his ruling the judge said, “the evidence is that Drew Adams poses no threat to the privacy or safety of his fellow students. When it comes to his use of the bathroom, the law requires that he be treated like any other boy.”

Adams’ attorney, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, said Thursday’s ruling sets the stage for other transgender cases.

“I think it will show to other school districts across Florida and across the country that they better watch out, and they can’t discriminate (against) transgender students. Otherwise they will be subject to lawsuits because they will be violating the Constitution and federal civil rights law,” he said.

“Today is a reminder for me that we can always have hope, and we always need to have hope,” Adams said.

The school district will have to pay $1,000 in damages and attorney fees to Adams.