JACKSON, Miss. — A federal judge says he will not block a Mississippi school district from requiring a transgender girl to dress as boy for high school graduation.
U.S. District Judge Taylor McNeel filed his order late Friday after holding a hearing on a lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union filed on behalf of the 17-year-old girl against the Harrison County School District.
The girl, listed in court papers by her initials L.B., had chosen a dress to wear with her cap and gown Saturday at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, a coastal town about 160 miles south of Jackson. Graduating boys are expected to wear white shirts and black slacks, while girls are expected to wear white dresses.
Harrison County School District officials told L.B. that she must follow the boys’ clothing rules for graduation, according to the lawsuit the ACLU filed Thursday.
The Associated Press left phone and email messages with the ACLU Saturday to ask whether L.B.’s family will appeal the judge’s decision not to issue a temporary restraining order against the school district and whether she will participate in the graduation ceremony.
The lawsuit said L.B. wore dresses to classes and extracurricular events throughout high school, including to a prom last year, and she should not face discriminatory treatment during graduation.
Wynn Clark, attorney for the Harrison County School Board, responded in court papers Friday that participating in a graduation ceremony is voluntary and not a constitutionally protected right for any student.