8-year old Nikki Brar sues Heritage Oak School over transgender discrimination

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The school authorities allegedly asked the parents to treat Brar as a girl.

From Left: Priya Shah, Nikki Shah-Brar, Nikki’s sister, and Jaspret

Nikki Brar, an 8-year old Indian American transgender student has sued her former Orange County private school for alleged gender identity discrimination.

The girl has also accused her school of preventing her from expressing her gender identity.

Brar, along with her parents Priya Shah and Jaspret Brar filed a lawsuit last week in Orange County Superior Court.

The complaint has accused the Heritage Oak school authorities of violating the Unruh Civil Rights Act as they did not accept the student’s transition to her gender.

The school allegedly forced Brar to wear the boy’s clothes and didn’t allow her to use the girl’s toilet despite the request of her parents.

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The school authorities allegedly asked the parents to treat Brar as a girl, Los Angeles Times reported.

“It honors our child’s commitment to being who she is despite adversity,” Brar’s mother told the news paper explaining why they chose not to stay anonymous.

“It is our small contribution toward ensuring that other transgender and gender expansive children do not go through the same hardship and trauma,” she added.

Brar, who was identified as Nicole Brar, a male by birth, first told her parents she wanted to be a girl when she was four.

When she repeated this and asked them to identify her as a girl just before she turned 7, the parents took her to a therapist focused on gender.

The therapist advised the parents to treat Brar according to her will and while joining the Heritage Oak she was in the process of transitioning.

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Brar left the school in February this year and currently is all set to join an Orange County public school soon. Her transition had solidified in December 2016.

However, the parent company of the school released a statement and said that Brar’s case was different and they had allowed Brar to use the single-unit staff bathroom.

“We believe it was extremely important to respond, not hastily, but with deliberate care, to decide when and how to inform and educate our entire elementary school community of students, staff and parents about the mid-year change of gender identity expression of a young child,” Los Angeles Times quoted the statement.

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“Due to the sensitivity of the issue and age of child, we believed we needed expert guidance regarding timing (such as, preparing children for a change they would see in spring semester of second grad and fall semester of third grade), process and age-appropriate communication,” they added.

The complaint seeks damages from school for emotional distress and discrimination along with a refund of school tuition and fees.

It wants Heritage Oak to write a policy of nondiscrimination toward transgender students, train staff according to the policy and also asks them to declare that it violated the state nondiscrimination law.