This story is a work in progress. There is much that we do not know.

Image credit: CIS College

As many of you are probably aware, the US Department of Education (ED—[not DOE (a pet peeve)]) is investigating the alleged assault of a five-year-old girl by a transgender child in a girls’ bathroom at a Georgia school in November, 2017. A source familiar with this matter informs me that the age of the alleged perpetrator is “comparable to” the alleged victim. I am trying to nail that down.

On May 22, Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT hate group sent a “narrative” of this incident as a complaint to unidentified recipients. Presumably this was sent to the City Schools of Decatur* and to ED. The complaint was signed by Roger G. Brooks with ADF in Washington DC and Vernadette R. Broyles, an anti-LGBT lawyer in Norcross. GA. The complaint became OCR [Office of Civil Rights] Complaint No. 04-18-1576. ADF, by the way, claims that both students are “well below the age of majority.

The complaint (as provided by ADF) has some redactions. I have made a FOIA request for the original which I will probably receive whenever they get around to it. I have no idea how responsive ED will be.

ADF has a religious objection to transgender and gender nonconforming people. They are presumably indifferent to the alleged victim (while feigning concern). ADF is exploiting this issue to undermine transgender accommodations and they are doing so solely for religious reasons. Listing alleged violations of Title IX, ADF begins with:

1. By adopting a Policy that permitted boys to enter girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and other privacy areas, the Decatur Schools deprived all students of their constitutionally protected right of bodily privacy, and created an unsafe and hostile environment for girls in particular, and thus discriminated against girls;

They end with:

17. Each day that the Decatur Schools leave the Policy in place, up to the present, they exhibit deliberate indifference to these violations of the rights of students to privacy, to equal protection, and to be free from a hostile and discriminatory educational environment.

The agenda is clear. Aside from the Title IX claims, ADF goes through the complete litany of anti-trans rhetoric; from athletics to showers and field trip lodging. It’s all boilerplate that they can incorporate into documents at will.

By the way, where exactly is “bodily privacy” mentioned in the Constitution?

On September 14, ED sent a letter to Broyles to the effect that is had opened an investigation. The letter originated with OCR (Office of Civil Rights) Region IV which covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. The letter is signed by Arthur Manigault
as Compliance Team Leader. The Brooklyn born Mr. Manigault is a career employee as a general attorney. Manigault has been with ED for 27 years. I have sent a FOIA request regarding recent cases he has handled.

An important portion of Manigault’s letter reads:

Please note that opening the complaint for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination on the merits of the complaint. During the investigation, OCR is a neutral fact-finder, collecting and analyzing relevant evidence from you, the District, and other sources, as appropriate.

I doubt that ED will interfere with district policy and I think that Manigault will give LGBT students a fair shake. For ADF, this is probably a precursor to litigating the matter in federal court with the objective of having a national effect. Voting has consequences and Trump has been packing the federal courts with anti-LGBT whack jobs of mediocre legal intellect.

If, in fact, one kid assaulted another, the fact that the alleged assailant is transgender is irrelevant. Kids have fights all the time. If the trans kid touched the other kid’s genitals that warrants disciplinary action and counseling. According to ADF the alleged assailant was not disciplined. If true that means that the school district found no cause for discipline.

The alleged assailant is probably a very young kid (5 to 8 I suspect). The alleged victim, at five years of age, probably does not understand what transgender means. It takes a religious crackpot of a mother — Pascha Thomas — to do that.

Do not underestimate the importance of this matter. ADF wants to prove that transgender accommodations are a safety concern. We will probably see (if we haven’t already) this case as a theme in the Massachusetts contest to repeal gender neutral laws. Thus far no one has ever produced evidence that the accommodations present a safety risk. Even if ADF has retold events correctly, via Ms. Thomas, this case really has no bearing on transgender rights. Irrational religious zealots and anti-LGBT bigots will insist otherwise.


* ADF consistently misidentifies City Schools of Decatur as the Decatur City Schools which is a school district in Alabama.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.