Lawsuit between Nease transgender student and St. Johns County School Board continues with three-day trial

Attorney representing transgender student says court is treating his client fairly

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The ongoing lawsuit between a transgender student at Allen D. Nease High School and the St. Johns County School Board continued last week with a three-day federal trial in Jacksonville that wrapped up Dec. 13.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a staff attorney for the LGBT legal advocacy group Lambda Legal, said he is grateful for the opportunity to present evidence and arguments supporting the claim that his client – Drew Adams - should be treated like every other boy at Nease High School.

Adams is a 16-year-old transgender Nease student who is asking the court to force the high school to allow him to use the restroom that coincides with his gender identity. After a three-day trial, Gonzalez-Pagan told the Recorder that his client was treated fairly by the court.

"We are grateful to have had the opportunity to present our evidence and arguments," he said. "We're thankful for the hearing that we got, we're thankful that Drew had his say in court and now we look forward to continuing on with the case and see a resolution in due time."

Gonzalez-Pagan said his team and the school district each had an opportunity to present their case before the court, and that's all he can ask for.

"Drew is an honors student and part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Nease High School in St. Johns County," he said. "All that he seeks is to be able to be treated like every other boy at Nease High School, and that includes access to facilities."

Adams' lawsuit claims the school violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act by prohibiting him from using the boys restroom. According to Lambda Legal, a federal judge plans to visit Nease on Jan. 3, 2018, to examine the school before closing arguments take place in court Feb. 16. Afterward, the judge will issue his final decision.

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