MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — What started as a case of a 5-year-old boy being bullied because of his clothes has turned into something much more.
It is now a gender discrimination case soon to be investigated by St. Paul’s Human Rights Department.
WCCO reported in January about how Nova Classical Academy in St. Paul was trying to develop a gender inclusion policy after a boy in kindergarten was teased for wearing girls’ clothing.
The student’s parents have since withdrawn the child from Nova. The kindergartner now presents as a transgender girl. Her parents enrolled her in a new school and are taking action against her previous school.
The legal team at Gender Justice is representing David and Hannah Edwards, the parents of the kindergartener with a strong sense of self.
“She just reached a point … where she realized this was her identity and … was just insistent upon it in a way that parents can’t ignore,” said Kristin Johnson of Gender Justice.
The Edwards claim in the discrimination charge that Nova failed to protect their child from gender-based bullying and hostility, and denied their child’s right to undergo a gender transition in a safe and timely way.
“It has always been in their mind that this is not just about their kid,” Johnson said. “It is very important to them to protect other kids like theirs.”
Eric Williams is the executive director at Nova. He wrote a letter to parents informing them of the discrimination charge.
In it he states, “We plan to respond to the complaint by denying the allegations. We will present evidence that the school has taken all the due measures to protect the student’s rights.”
“It shouldn’t have gotten this far already, but they need to be protected,” Johnson said. “They’re kids. Kids grow up into adults. Why saddle people with more things to deal with than they’re already going to have?”
A spokesman for the Human Rights Department says the school has one month to respond to the family’s complaint. An investigation will begin after that.
The staff could determine there is no merit to the case, or they could decide to send the case to district court, or require Nova to take specific actions.