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Harrison County School District Dress Codes Target Girls and Trans Students, Title IX Complaint Alleges

The mother of a transgender Mississippi high-school student is accusing the Harrison County School District of enforcing a dress code that discriminates against girls—particularly transgender girls—and gender non-conforming students. The parent, Kimberly Hudson, filed an administrative complaint against the district in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on Wednesday.

The complaint says junior A.H., referred to by only her initials for her privacy, wanted to wear a black dress to her band concert on March 28, 2024, which aligned with the formal dress code for the performance for girls. Her band director gave her permission to wear the dress, which the complaint says she happily wore to school on the day of the concert, receiving many compliments from her peers.

But when A.H. went to the bathroom during her first-period class, Principal Kelly Fuller stopped the young trans girl, saying her dress violated the dress code and that she needed to change clothes because “boys can’t wear skirts or dresses,” the complaint says. The complaint alleges that Kelly said that if she did not change clothes, he would send her to in-school reassignment and she would miss the concert. A.H.’s mother quickly brought her a pair of slacks and a button-down shirt so A.H. could perform in the concert, the complaint says.

“Returning to the classroom where her dress had been celebrated by her peers, A.H. felt utterly humiliated to be seen in clothing that was inconsistent with her gender identity,” the complaint says.

Read the complaint.

The complaint says A.H. has also faced judgment for which bathroom she uses and that the school district told her to use the teachers’ single-stall bathroom, which makes her feel isolated, it says in the complaint. The 16-year-old has faced harassment for being transgender and has been called transphobic and homophobic slurs while attending school in the district, the complaint says.

The complaint alleges that, after a student repeatedly harassed her in the classroom one day, A.H. yelled at the student to stop. The teacher sent her to the vice principal, and the next day, the school suspended A.H. for

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