A former Indianapolis public school student sued the school district and the state over a ban on transgender athletes but has dropped the lawsuit, according to court documents filed Thursday.
Both defendant and plaintiff in the case agreed to dismiss the case on the grounds that the student (referred to as AM in the lawsuit) is now attending a charter school and no longer at an IPS school.
The lawsuit, originally filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana in May 2022, claims that Indiana’s law banning transgender students from all-female scholastic sports constitutes discrimination under federal law guaranteeing equal access to education and educational programs.
The law went into effect on July 1, 2022, but later that same month a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction declaring that IPS must allow AM to rejoin her softball team. In her preliminary injunction ruling, the judge wrote that AM is likely to prevail in her case that the law violated her civil rights.
related:Judge says 10-year-old girl can rejoin softball team, fights transgender sports ban
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana said in a statement Thursday that while they agreed to the firing, they still believe the law is discriminatory.
“We stand by our contention that when misinformation about biology and gender is used to bar transgender girls from school sports, it amounts to the same form of discrimination that Title IX has long prohibited, the law that protects all students — including trans people — on the basis of gender, and under the equal protection clause,” the statement said.
The ACLU went on to say that if another trans student in Indiana is barred from a public school sports team, that student should contact them.
The law has been in effect for the rest of Indiana since last July, and the previous judge’s ban applies only to AM
The Coalition to Defend Freedom, a faith-based nonprofit legal organization, said in a statement that the dismissal of the lawsuit was a victory for Indiana’s female athletes.
“Biological differences in sports are more than just common sense and there is a need to ensure girls can continue to play the sport they love on a fair and level playing field,” said ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Csutoros. “Indiana joins a growing group of states League, these states have enacted laws to preserve fair competition for female athletes.”
In a statement to IndyStar, the IPS school district said the district will continue its work to support all students.
“We will continue to support our students, including our transgender students, with the same care and concern we showed before the law was passed and the lawsuit was filed (and subsequently dismissed),” the statement said.
For more information on HB 1041:Ban on transgender girls from school sports will become law despite Indiana governor’s veto
House Bill 1041, passed earlier last year, prohibits transgender students from participating in women’s sports teams organized or sponsored by school corporations, public schools or nonpublic schools. Charter schools are public schools, so AM is still barred from playing on the girls’ team at her new school.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill last March after saying it addressed a problem that didn’t exist in Indiana. The Republican-controlled Legislature overturned Holcomb’s veto in May, clearing the way for the law to take effect in July.
IndyStar archive contributed to this report.
Contact IndyStar reporter Caroline Beck at 317-618-5807 or CBeck@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarolineB_Indy.
Caroline is also a member of the US reporting team for the GroundTruth Project, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the US and around the world.
Report for America is funded by private and public donors, paying up to 50% of journalists’ salaries. IndyStar can find a match through local community donors, donors, grants or other fundraising efforts.
If you would like to make a personal, tax-deductible contribution to her post, you can make a one-time donation online or make a monthly recurring donation at IndyStar.com/RFA.
You can also donate by check made payable to “The GroundTruth Project”. Send it to Report for America IndyStar Campaign, c/o The GroundTruth Project, Lockbox Services, 9450 SW Gemini Dr, PMB 46837, Beaverton, Oregon, 97008-7105. Please place IndyStar/Report for America on the memo line of your check.