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School Board signals plans to appeal transgender restroom ruling

Drew Adams, 17, successfully sued district for right to use boys' restroom

Drew Adams is suing the St. Johns County School Board.
Drew Adams is suing the St. Johns County School Board.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The St. Johns County School Board plans to appeal a federal ruling giving a transgender student the right to choose which bathroom he uses. 

The notice of appeal was filed Thursday in federal court. 

COURT DOCUMENT: School Board of St. Johns County's notice of appeal

The case centered around 17-year-old transgender student Drew Adams, who sued after he was denied access to the boys' restroom.

Drew Adams, a student at Nease High School, was told by the St. Johns County School District that he could use a gender-neutral bathroom on campus but could not use the boys' restroom, despite identifying as a male since 2015.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Corrigan ruled Adams should be allowed to use the boys' bathroom.

Corrigan wrote in his decision:

"[T]he evidence is that Drew Adams poses no threat to the privacy or safety of any of his fellow students. Rather, Drew Adams is just like every other student at Nease High School, a teenager coming of age in a complicated, uncertain and changing world. When it comes to his use of the bathroom, the law requires that he be treated like any other boy."

LINK: Findings in Adams v. School Board of St. Johns County

Attorneys argued the district's policy to exclude transgender students from the restrooms that match their gender is unconstitutional because it discriminates based on sex in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act. The court ruled in Adams' favor on both counts.

While the lawsuit only involved Adams, St. Johns County school officials are aware of 16 other transgender students. Adams previously said he hopes the ruling helps them too.

About the Author:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4Jax in March 2016.