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Judge orders Martinsville school to let transgender student use boys' bathroom

The district is appealing the judge's ruling to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — A federal judge has doubled down on her order for a Martinsville school to allow a transgender student to use the boys' bathroom. 

At issue is a boy who has taken his case to the courts after he said John R. Wooden Middle School would not allow him to use the boys' bathroom, play on the boys' soccer team or address him with the pronouns "he" and "him." 

Late last month, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt granted a preliminary injunction giving the boy the right to use any boys' restroom within the middle school.

The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville responded by asking the judge to put a hold on her ruling while they appealed. 

On Monday, Pratt denied the district's motion and said the district failed to provide any additional evidence proving the district would suffer "irreparable harm" by allowing the student to use the boys' restroom. 

The school district argued that if Pratt's order were reversed on an appeal, it "would be disruptive of the school's operations...and undermine the order and authority of the school."

In her ruling, Pratt responded to the district's argument saying it was speculative, unsupported by evidence and "appears questionable given that the School District allows other transgender students to use the restrooms associated with their gender identity."

The student also argued that the school year ends on May 26, which is in just a matter of days. That timeframe is far shorter than the three weeks the student used the boys' bathroom earlier this year and in those three weeks, Pratt said, there were no incidents.

Pratt added that in its argument, the school district failed to show how not allowing the child to use the boys' bathroom for the last couple of school days would result in "irreparable harm." 

"In addition, the School District has not presented any new arguments or evidence to demonstrate that the public interest weighs in favor of maintaining the School District’s authority over such matters until more clear and direct guidance on Title IX is provided," Pratt wrote in her ruling. 

The district is appealing Judge Pratt's original decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  

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