The Department of Education has announced it will investigate whether or not a Georgia elementary school’s bathroom policy contributed to the alleged sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl. A gender fluid student was accused of the crime, but school authorities and police took no action after an investigation.
Secretary Betsy DeVos announced last year that she would overturn Obama-era directives on how to treat transgender students with respect and would stop accepting complaints of discrimination from trans students.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBTQ hate group that masquaredes as a religious legal charity, is representing the girl’s mother in the case. The school has said the group is twisting the facts to fit their agenda.
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights said in a letter that it will investigate the allegations and whether the school district’s bathroom policy contributed to the “creation of a hostile environment for the student and other girls.”
“We do not comment on pending investigations — but to be clear, the investigation focuses on the school’s response to a report of sexual assault and the examination of any and all factors that may have contributed to a hostile environment,” Education Department spokesman Nate Bailey told Politico over email (emphasis his).
Courtney Burnett, a spokeswoman for the school district, told the outlet, “City Schools of Decatur is committed to supporting all students. We are aware of the unfounded allegations made by the Alliance Defending Freedom. We fully disagree with their characterization of the situation and are addressing it with the Office of Civil Rights. As this is a pending legal matter, we have no further comment at this time.“
The ADF’s complaint claims that the school “responded by targeting her for a Department of Family and Children Services investigation.” Any time a student reports a sexual assault, schools are required to notify police and social services.
Neither student reported the incident to school officials. The girl’s mother told the school she was pushed against a wall and her genitals were “forcibly touched” by the gender neutral student. She withdrew the girl from the school.
The gender neutral student was not disciplined or charged with any crimes after separate investigations by school authorities, local police, and child welfare social services.
The Alliance Defending Freedom is known for challenging transgender inclusive bathroom policies and threatening legal action against school districts that implement the policy.