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Mississippi School's Dress Code Is Illegal And Unfair To Transgender Students, ACLU says

Transgender and gender-nonconforming students at a Mississippi high school were unfairly targeted because of the school district’s sex-specific dress code, the American Civil Liberties Union claims in a complaint filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Education.

The rights advocacy organization, which brought the complaint on behalf of the mother of a transgender student, said the Harrison County School District’s dress code policy violates Title IX, a 1972 federal law which prohibits schools and colleges that accept federal funds from discriminating against people on the basis of sex.

The Mississippi school’s dress codepolicy for the 2023-2024 school year states that students must adhere to the “dress attire consistent with their biological sex” and that boys must wear shorts or pants and girls must wear dresses or skirts.

In practice, this policy has had harmful and humiliating consequences for transgender girls and gender-nonconforming cisgender girls alike, the complaint alleges.

In March, school administrators at Harrison Central High School blocked a 16-year-old transgender girl, identified as A.H. in the complaint, from wearing a dress at a regional band concert. School principal Kelly Fuller told A.H. that she could not “represent our school dressed like that” and gave her the choice to change into “boys’ clothes” or be sent to in-school suspension and forgo participating in the concert.

The ACLU also asserted that A.H. had been harassed while using the girls’ restroom and that when she tried to use the boys’ restroom as a last resort, she was screamed at by a teacher.

“I’m deeply concerned about the discriminatory practices within Harrison County School District that have unfairly targeted my

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