The lawsuit was filed against the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) in July 2016 by Ash Whitaker, a transgender student who was banned from using the boys’ bathroom at Temper High School.
Whitaker also alleges that he was subjected to daily surveillance and threatened with disciplinary action for using the boys’ bathroom. He also said school officials insisted on calling him by his birth name, used female pronouns, and refused to let him run for junior prom king.
He graduated in June 2017, just days after the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of his challenge against the school district.
The federal appeals court upholding a lower court’s ruling allowing Whitaker to use the boys’ bathroom for his senior year.
KUSD initially challenged the Seventh Circuit decision, appealing it to the U.S. Supreme Court — but instead, last week, the school board voted 5-2 to pay an $800,000 settlement rather than risk a costly loss.
Attorneys for KUSD said $150,000 will go to Whitaker and $650,000 will go to his attorneys’ fees. The only taxpayer funds spent in defending the lawsuit was a $25,000 insurance deductible.
The settlement was driven by the “insurance company’s concern over the legal developments, the mounting costs of defending the claim and ultimately a risk of having to contribute toward Whitaker’s significant attorneys’ fees,” according to attorney Ronald Stadler.
Whitaker was represented by the Transgender Law Center and said he is “am deeply relieved that this long, traumatic part of my life is finally over and I can focus on my future.”