Transgender student wins $300,000 settlement from Anoka-Hennepin Schools

A local transgender student barred from using the boys’ locker room at school has reached a settlement in a case that some hope becomes a catalyst for change.

The $300,000 settlement was announced two years after Nick sued the Anoka-Hennepin School District. The complaint stems from 2015 when he was a freshman at Coon Rapids High School. Months after joining the boys’ swim team, the school board barred Nick from using the boys’ locker room.

"My goal was not to just improve my own situation, but to make a difference," Nick said.

Forced to use segregated changing facilities, the lawsuit charges that he was subjected to bullying and threats. His story gained national attention. Last fall, a court ruled transgender students are entitled to use the locker room that matches their identity

"In short, the school district violated this teenage boy’s right to equal protection and due process under the Minnesota constitution," said ACLU-MN Staff Attorney David McKinney.

The win, McKinney says, is also a win for transgender students across the state.

In addition to the settlement, the school district also agreed to several reforms which includes developing a policy to allow every student to use all facilities consistent with their gender identity.

"Our message to transgender and non-binary youth is, ‘We are here for you. We support you. And we will not stop fighting for you,’" said Gender Justice Executive Director Megan Peterson.

"I know that, just by being here and standing up and being visible, I can make a difference. We all can," Nick said.

Last fall, the state court of appeals ruled that it is a violation for school districts to segregate transgender students.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District released a statement Tuesday that reads, in part, "The Minnesota Court of Appeals has established clarity for transgender student access to locker rooms…the district has modified its policy and procedures."