The federal Department of Education launched an investigation into claims that a five-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a boy allowed into the girls’ bathroom at school due to being “gender fluid.”
Attorneys for the girl’s family announced Wednesday their receipt of the DoED letter dated Sept. 14, and released videotaped statements by the girl’s mother, her local attorney and other concerned parents.
The Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights stated by letter, “Because OCR determined that it has jurisdiction and that the complaint was timely filed, OCR is opening the complaint for investigation.”
Attorney Vernadette Broyles represents Pascha Thomas locally in Georgia, and she is affiliated with the nationally organized Alliance Defending Freedom.
“This is a five-year-old girl assaulted in the bathroom by a boy who apparently was allowed to be there,” Broyles said.
Broyles outlined a series of events that led to the sexual assault:
- In July 2016, as school was out for summer, Decatur City Schools Superintendent David Dude sliped the “transgender” policy into place.
- The policy includes bathrooms, locker rooms, team sports and over-night travel in which a “gender-fluid” boy may be assigned arrangements to room with girls.
- Parents were never told of this, but some parents soon discovered the policy.
- In October 2016, a public hearing on the policy included credible warning that predatory males may use the policy as a means of access to girls.
- In November 2017, Thomas’ daughter asked to use the bathroom at school, went, and upon entering was pushed to the wall by a boy who then molested her under her clothing.
“The night that my daughter came to me and explained what had happened to her, I felt devastated,” Thomas said. “I felt betrayed. I felt angry.”
Concerned parents local to the area included Mark and Gena, who discovered the policy and worked to reverse it.
“You have the expectation that you’re never going to have to worry about them at school,” Mark said. “I learned about the transgender policy from my wife Gena.”
Gena found out from an off-hand reference to it on the school’s Facebook page, clicked the link and was surprised to learn of it’s finality and scope.
“I began to ask around to other parents,” Gena said. “Not a single parent that I had spoken to was aware.”
I felt devastated. i felt betrayed. i felt angry
After the sexual assault, Thomas sought repeatedly to get a response from school leaders, to make the school protect her daughter.
In time, the school said no, the boy would not be removed from class. No, the boy would not be banned from using the girls’ bathroom.
“You’re saying my child has to come here every day and feel unsafe?” Thomas recounted. “You are refusing to do anything about what’s going on here?”
School District Spokeswoman Courtney Burnett responded by email to media, stating, “We are aware of the unfounded allegations made by the Alliance Defending Freedom. We fully disagree with their characterization of the situation.”
Commenting on the wider policy impacts – a policy that is likely to be close to a template for any number of schools nationally – ADF Legal Council Christina Holcomb noted:
- The unexpected and unannounced presence of a boy in a girls’ restroom, locker-room, shower area, or overnight hotel room has the obvious potential to cause—and has actually caused—violations of privacy, anxiety, and stress for girls.
- Under the Policy, a girl who goes on (any school sponsored) trip must accept the possibility that she will find herself lodged in a hotel room with a boy, without any notice to her, without the consent of her or her parents, and without any safeguards for her privacy or indeed safety.