Transgender student files federal lawsuit against Wisconsin school district

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MILWAUKEE — A transgender student has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the Kenosha school district won't let him use the boy's restrooms and repeatedly uses his female birth name.

Ash Whitaker

Ash Whitaker

The Transgender Law Center and the civil rights law firm Relman, Dane and Colfax PLLC filed the lawsuit in Milwaukee on Tuesday, July 19th.

FOX6 News first introduced you to Ashton Whitaker this past spring, when he was fighting for the right to run for prom king at Kenosha Tremper High School.

Students rallied around their transgender classmate.

Ash Whitaker

Ash Whitaker

After initially telling Whitaker that he must run for prom queen, the Kenosha Unified School District eventually allowed him to run for prom king.

The lawsuit alleges 16-year-old Ashton Whitaker was designated a girl on his birth certificate but identifies as a boy. The district has discriminated against him by denying him access to boys' restrooms and directing staff to monitor his restroom usage.

CLICK HERE to read the 36-page complaint filed in this case

Ash Whitaker

Ash Whitaker

The lawsuit also alleges teachers call him by his female birth name and he has to wear a green wristband so staff can easily monitor his bathroom use.

It alleges the school district's actions are discriminatory and a violation of Title IX.

"Transgender youth are struggling with the issue of their identity, but if they're not received well by people around them, then they can have additional psychological problems and so this has been very stressful for him," Rock Pledl, Whitaker's attorney said. "The degree to which the administration has just continued to harass him over and over and raising the stakes when you'd think it'd be the opposite. You'd think they'd be looking for a way to make his life at that high school more pleasant."

Tremper High School

Tremper High School

Kenosha Unified School District Chief Communications Officer Tanya Ruder sent FOX6 News the following statement on this matter:

"Kenosha Unified was recently made aware of the lawsuit filed against the District alleging discrimination against a transgender student.  The District and its legal counsel are reviewing the complaint and all of the allegations asserted in the complaint. Even a cursory review of the complaint shows that some of the factual allegations are patently false. The District does not have a practice or policy requiring any student to wear a wristband for monitoring any purpose or for any reason whatsoever. The District has worked diligently with transgender students and their families to address their unique needs and accommodations, including the family named in the suit."


  • Alex

    What body parts does he/she posses? These variables are important…if it’s a homosexual female who has only female parts then the school isn’t in the wrong. However, a female that posses and was born with hormones/parts abnormal to it’s sex, I could see this actually being a legit case. How can you request access to an opposite sex’s bathrooms if your needs are only mental instead of physical?

  • Z

    What a giant piece of s**t this girl is.

    Your a girl stupid! You use the women’s bathroom. Maybe all this “harassment” wouldn’t be happening if you weren’t such a phony self-righteous piece of future liberal garbage who is trying to cause problems, just for the sake of a causing problems.

      • Z

        Perhaps you should work on your reading and comprehension skills. It says right in the article SHE was born as a SHE. Says so right on HER birth certificate. Doctors don’t screw that up. SHE claims to be a he, because SHE has mental issues.

        Seriously, people like you are what is wrong with America. You and others who are like-minded are destroying the country. Stop empowering this self-victimization of these idiots who were raised with an overblown sense of entitlements, safe spaces, and triggers, guaranteed to create frivolous lawsuits over self-pity.

        Taxpayers should be downright pissed about this, knowing their money will be used for a senseless suit on a public district. Hopefully, a judge with some common sense takes one look at it and throws it out.

        So Kacey, where is your rebuttal to that? Will you spew some typical liberal rhetoric or just go straight to the name calling?

      • Kacey Moeni

        Nice rebuttal. I’ll be feeling that one in the morning. Good job, mr…oh. You wish death on those who disagree with you. Gosh, what an edgy kid you must be!

  • Paul

    In my time high school bathroom + teen = smoking or dirt graffiti. Today’s kids are so much smarter coming up with new ways to make $$. You gotta love evolution.

  • polymorph

    i remember when they would just live and not bring attention to themselves. Now they want “special” treatment because of their illness and if they don’t get it they turn into sue happy hypocrites.

  • Ron Melancon

    Give me a break…these nuts are destroying our country….I don’t want my daughter getting dressed in a public school next to a person with a penis….I can’t believe this crap. Let them use a private bath room and get over it…less than 1% of the population is destroying what God Created….You use the bathroom according to the “Junk” you have end of story….and cut the crap.
    and this family lies even more than Hiliary Clinton.

  • Tammy

    Pull you’re kids and homeschool them. When the schools start losing money things will start tho change.

  • crysrandy

    Enough of this already. She was born a girl, she is a girl. Parents need to stop encouraging this. I am so sick of these confused people shoving this insanity down everyone’s throat. You are a GIRL ASH!!! Deal with it. Stop making everyone else uncomfortable to go to the bathroom and be in a locker room just because you are confused. GAWD!!!!!!

  • crysrandy

    It is sad that other students support this because that is what they are being taught by liberal teachers. Parents today need to start talking to their children on what is wrong and what is right, what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. It infuriates me that 99% of the population is suppose to cowtown and change their beliefs and values and upbringing to make the few feel comfortable. Well – it is not comfortable for us. I get so annoyed at these stories. And no matter how many stories there are – I will never change what I think and believe.

    • Kacey Moeni

      I was taught growing up that the christian god created the world and there was a world wide flood. I don’t believe a word of it. You ever consider the possibility that these teens can think for themselves? Of course not. It’s all “them dirty libs” to you people. Grow up.

      • Z

        Most teens are really stupid and naive to the world. They truely aren’t capable of thinking for themselves yet.

        Case in point, the dumb teens at this school who were supporting this GIRL. They are just followers. It’s what high school students do.

        As for the GIRL. She didn’t come up with any of this herself. The parents are responsible for this. They imprinted this type of behavior.

  • Lauren H

    Interested in learning more about the case? You can read the full Complaint here:

  • Vicky

    If this profane ridiculousness goes before a law abiding constitutional judge it”ll get thrown out. If it lands before a corrupt judge following international law instead, it will be given credence it does not merit.

  • Vicky

    Psychiatry expert: ‘scientifically there is no such thing as transgender’ By Thaddeus Baklinski Jan 15, 2013
    “Dr. Joseph Berger has issued a statement saying that from a medical and scientific perspective there is no such thing as a “transgendered” person, and that terms such as “gender expression” and “gender identity” used in the bill are at the very least ambiguous, and are more an emotional appeal than a statement of scientific fact.
    Berger, who is a consulting psychiatrist in Toronto and whose list of credentials establishes him as an expert in the field of mental illness, stated that people who identify themselves as “transgendered” are mentally ill or simply unhappy, and pointed out that hormone therapy and surgery are not appropriate treatments for psychosis or unhappiness.”

    • Kacey Moeni

      Thaddeus Baklinski is only listed as an author of “”. In fact, his very own profile that he wrote says he’s a journalist, not a psychiatrist.
      According to a quick google scan, life site news is a fundamentalist christian, right wing ‘news’ website, so it’s clearly pretty biased.

      You should research these things before you post. Especially since the majority of psychiatrists do recognize it as a mental condition. I’d bet you’ve never heard of the WPATH standards of care.

  • Cristal-Bling

    This Transgender thing just makes me sick, It’s all about getting attention if you have a have a vagina your a girl and if you have a penis your a boy no question asked theres no reason they’re entitled to using the opposite Restrooms just because they feel like being a girl and dressing like one and vis-versa with girls wanting to be a boy. Children are born innocent and don’t know anything about these things. Their parents should have given them proper attention they needed so they wouldn’t need to get attention by doing these unruly things. Why is it that people who are against this are wrong to say anything and are tried to get forced to except it. Why should we have to go along with it it’s very inappropriate in our eye just as they don’t want to be judged by what they think is ok, we have the same right. It’s our right to not want to agree If they are so angry about this fine let all these trangender parents get together and make their own schools so no one will get hurt and offended and use whatever restroom they want. But you know that won’t happen cause they won’t get or have any attention from anyone, All this Hoopla is nonsense and it’s all to start up an uproar!! No reason to be suing anyone respect the rules that are made and stop trying to change certain set rules.

  • Sam

    If your DNA says boy, use the boys bathroom. If your DNA says girl, use girls bathroom.

    If YOU are confused about which bathroom to use CHECK YOUR DNA.

    If you want the school to call you by a name DIFFERENT than on your birth certificate,

  • Shaye Woolard

    I don’t see why people can’t just use the bathroom that they are supposed to and quit making such a big deal out of all of this. We don’t have to except them and it is not what I believe in. I will never change my mind on this and don’t think that I should be forced to by anyone. I have rights as well and I don’t feel comfortable with the laws letting them use what ever bathroom it takes my rights away! Maybe I should sue everyone at the drop of a hat. Come on grow up people and get some common sense.

  • Rowland Stevens

    Why does anyone who makes some personal decision on what type of clothes they wear, style of their hair, use of makeup, etc. have a “right” to insist that other people acknowledge and change the common expectations most of us share simply because of their individual personal choice on some issue they have the right to make for themselves perhaps …. but not decide what others must do. The common rules on bathroom use have to do with what physical sexual organs you have, nothing else, for a variety of reasons. Your freedom of choice, does not include anyone else having to be concerned about your choice or having to change their expectations because of it. And the only connnection with inherent sexual matters, is a personal choice to not engage in normal sexual activity between physically different sexes. And by definition the things you have decided to see differently in your life exclude sexual matters.

    • Kacey Moeni

      Do you really, honestly believe that people just chose to be one of the most hated groups of people in the world? Knowing all the bs they have to go through with people who hate them for literally no good reason beyond “it’s just weird”? I don’t understand that mentality.

  • friendsofterryvirgilsite

    This person is not a transgender person at and is only living a lie and telling a lie, therefore this person is a lair.
    As a owner of a business in truth I would never even hire this person because they have no integrity and one would have to have integrity to work for me.
    I would need to see and read a cite[s] that does prove a transgender is even real.
    Okay there is no way a person is even born in the wrong body. So where is a cite[s] that says other wise. Seeing none that means no proof, or any facts, with a truth to backup this silly idea.

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