President Joe Biden’s Department of Education has opened an investigation into reports of a trans-identified 18-year-old male student allegedly showering with freshman girls at a Wisconsin high school, a letter from the department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) dated Wednesday reveals.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a complaint in June of 2023 with the OCR after hearing from concerned parents from the Sun Prairie Area School District about the alleged March incident. The young man, who identifies as transgender, allegedly showered completely undressed next to four freshman girls in the girls’ locker room, according to WILL.
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“As the girls began to shower, the male student approached them, entered the shower area, announced ‘I’m trans, by the way,’ and then fully undressed and showered next to the girls,” the complaint details, according to a December 1 Newsweek report. “He was initially turned towards the wall but turned and fully exposed his body to the four girls. He had not transitioned medically and had the physiological appearance of an adult male. Understandably, the girls closed their eyes and tried to hurry up and leave the showers.”
WILL said in a press release that it asked the Department of Education to investigate because of the “school’s failure to sufficiently address the incident, disregard for parents’ concerns, and their stonewalling of an open records request.” The OCR notified WILL of its investigation on November 29.
“WILL also submitted an open records request asking for applicable district policies and correspondence related to the incident which occurred on March 3, 2023. To date, the only response WILL has received included a request by SPASD for approximately $11,000 in pre-payment before fully responding to our open records request,” according to WILL.
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The complaint alleges that the school district discriminated against the four freshman girls on the basis of sex, and that the district’s locker room use policies failed to protect students. It also alleges that the district failed to comply with requirements under Title IX when it learned about the alleged incident.
“This opening of a formal civil rights investigation is tremendously significant, not only for this case, but as a warning to other schools nationwide that embrace new and untested transgender policies without considering the impact on female students,” WILL Deputy Counsel Daniel Lennington told Newsweek.
A spokesperson for the school district confirmed to local media that it had received the letter from the Department of Education but declined to comment further, according to the report.
In its letter, the Department of Education said it will remain “neutral” and “will collect and analyze the evidence it needs in order to make a decision.”
“Parents and students should be able to feel confident that their school is complying with federal laws like Title IX, but right now in Sun Prairie parents do not have that confidence,” said Cory Brewer, WILL associate counsel.
“We applaud the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights for investigating the allegations made in our complaint, but we all need to wait and see if they take this as seriously as they should,” Brewer continued. “We hope this results in answers for parents and families at the Sun Prairie Area School District, but we won’t know until we see the results of the investigation.”