A man who identifies as a transgender woman sued Maryland schools, claiming harassment and persecution for being his authentic self.
The case, settled two days before trial, awarded an undisclosed sum of money, and reinstated him as a teacher. Prince George’s County Public Schools also made policy changes regarding bathrooms, sports participation, locker use and preferred names and pronouns.
Townhall further reported:
The teacher at the center of the lawsuit, Jennifer Eller, 45, who is transgender, reportedly left the Prince George County school system in 2017. In December 2018, Eller filed a federal lawsuit In Maryland alleging that the school system violated constitutional protections by discriminating against Eller on the basis of sex for many years, The Washington Post reported.
According to the lawsuit, Eller came out to the principal at Kenmoor Middle School 2011 and began to live more openly as a woman. Allegedly, Eller “immediately became the target of rampant harassment by staff and students alike.” Some students allegedly called Eller a “pedophile” and a school administrator advised Eller to avoid skirts or dresses because it would make other people uncomfortable. Eller claimed that a human resources staffer called a note from Eller’s therapist about transitioning “garbage.”
Eller transferred to teach at new schools twice. As a high school English teacher, Eller was “regularly targeted for her gender identity,” The Post noted, adding that students intentionally used male pronouns to address Eller as well as “asking about her genitals.” After filing several complaints, school officials allegedly retaliated against Eller.
Under the settlement, Eller received financial compensation and the school system will move forward with enforcing new policies surrounding transgender students.
Now, Prince George County’s 130,000 public school students will be permitted to use restrooms, locker rooms and participate in phys ed classes and sports teams that correspond to their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex. Students are also encouraged to dress in accordance with their gender identity and expression as long as it follows the school dress code.
In addition, the students will be allowed to go by name and pronouns that match their gender identity, even if the student has not undergone a legal name change
“The Board of Education encourages students and staff to normalize pronouns so that the usage is not limited to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, however, the decision of students and staff to use pronouns that correspond with their gender identity is a personal choice,” the policy states.
Under the “Privacy” section of the new policies, school staff are forbidden from disclosing information that reveals a student’s LGBTQIA+ status, including to their parents, unless required by law to do so.
Eller currently lives in Northern Virginia and told The Post that these types of policies will “save lives” and “keep people safe.”
“While she was incorrectly assigned the sex of male at birth, Ms. Eller is a woman,” Eller’s attorneys argued in court documents. “Her identity as a woman is just as valid as that of women who were assigned female at birth.”
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