N.H. came out shortly before he began his freshman year at Coon Rapids High School in 2015. Before N.H. started, his mother talked with the principal to get assurances that her transgender son would be safe. The principal and other staff initially reassured her about his safety and appeared to be respectful of his transgender status. N.H. joined the boys’ swim team and used the boys’ locker room along with his fellow students for months, without any complaints and without any problems.
Then the School Board got involved and prohibited him from using the same boys’ locker room that he had used for months.
His mother, J.H., stood up for her son’s rights before the Anoka-Hennepin School Board and asked the board repeatedly to follow gender-inclusion policies like Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Schools. But the board refused, insisting that N.H. must not use the boys’ locker room and that he would be disciplined if he did.
This degrading treatment singled N.H. out, segregated him from his classmates and forced him to use a changing facility that no other student had to use, making him feel unwelcome and alone. He had been doing well academically and socially until the district intervened. Then he started getting bullied and getting threats, hate threats that his mother still faces.
This led to severe emotional distress for N.H., who ended up in the hospital, and eventually had to switch schools.
ACLU-MN and Gender Justice are suing the Anoka-Hennepin School District and its School Board for discrimination in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act and for violating N.H.'s rights to equal protection and due process under the Minnesota Constitution.