Woods Update: Major Settlement for Matt!
“I’m glad there will be new gender affirming policies put into place so that no one else has to go through what I went through. People should be able to express their gender identity and go to the bathroom without being tormented by their teachers and school. Gender-affirming policies will literally save lives.”
Today we announced a major settlement with the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District.
It includes compensation for Matt, along with significant protections for other trans students in the district, so they don’t have to go through what Matt did.
When Matt was a student at Buffalo Community Middle School, he was repeatedly isolated from his classmates and limited to a single restroom facility no other student was required to use, which led to him being removed from physical education classes entirely — all because he is transgender.
Gender Justice and our co-counsel, Best & Flanagan LLP, argued that the school district violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act, as well as the state Constitution’s rights to education and equal protection, by failing to provide Matt with a safe and equitable learning environment.
Today’s settlement announcement puts Minnesota schools on notice: It is illegal – and expensive – to discriminate against transgender students in our state.
In addition to the $218,500 settlement, the school district has agreed to create and implement new protections for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students, including:
- Ensuring that transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students have access to restrooms and locker room facilities that align with their gender identity;
- Ensuring that transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students can play on sports teams that are consistent with their gender identity; and
- Ensuring that school officials refer to students by the proper names and pronouns.
“I’m glad there will be new gender affirming policies put into place so that no one else has to go through what I went through, because people should be able to express their gender identity and go to the bathroom without being tormented by their teachers and school,” Matt said at an event announcing the settlement. “Gender-affirming policies will literally save lives.”