‘Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students and Decatur Schools clearly failed this young girl…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, but it’s Pasha Thomas’s reality.
In Nov. 2017, Thomas’s 5-year-old daughter was in the restroom at her Decatur, Georgia elementary school, when a male student entered and sexually assaulted her.
When Thomas reported her kindergarten daughter’s assault, the school responded by targeting her for a Department of Family and Children Services investigation.
The entire incident is a case of the school district’s transgender bathroom policy gone horribly wrong, and school officials’ attempts to divert unwanted attention, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit faith-based legal organization.
The ADF filed a complaint on behalf of Thomas in May, alleging the school’s recently enacted transgender restroom policy, which allows boys to frequent girls’ bathrooms, allowed for the assault to occur.
On Wednesday, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights announced it would investigate the incident under its Title IX authority, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
According to the ADF complaint, prior to the sexual assault, Decatur Superintendent David Dude announced “a policy that required all Decatur Schools to admit boys who identify as female into girls’ restrooms, locker rooms and shower areas on school premises … based solely on the stated preference of the individual student.”
That policy was met with intense resistance.
“Superintendent Dude and the Board were repeatedly warned through written statements and public comment that the Policy would unacceptably inflict the loss of privacy and loss of safe private spaces for girls,” the complaint says.
But the district made no changes, and shortly after, parent fears were realized.
The DOE Office of Civil Rights announced it will be investigating whether the school district failed to properly respond to Thomas’s daughter’s sexual assault, whether the trans-bathroom policy created a hostile environment for Thomas’s daughter and other girls, and whether the district retaliated against Thomas for reporting the assault.
“This situation was both deeply tragic and avoidable,” said Christiana Holcomb, an attorney at ADF.
“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students and Decatur Schools clearly failed this young girl. The current approach that many schools are taking of passing these transgender bathroom policies isn’t working; they fail to provide basic privacy or ensure the safety of all students,” Holcomb said.