YORBA LINDA The parents of an 8-year-old transgender girl are suing a Yorba Linda private school saying their daughter was barred from using the girls’ restroom and was forced to wear a boys’ uniform.
In their discrimination lawsuit filed Wednesday, Priya Shah and Jaspret Brar of Orange County say Heritage Oak Private School advertised itself as “nondiscriminatory
” but then refused to treat their daughter, Nicole (Nikki) Brar, in accordance with her gender identity.
The lawsuit says the school denied their daughter’s appeals to wear a girls’ uniform and rejected her requests to be called by the appropriate name and pronouns. The school also insisted that she use a staff restroom instead of the girls’ restroom and failed to address bullying in the classroom, according to the lawsuit.
The family is represented by Public Counsel, the largest pro bono public interest law firm in the country. In a statement through their attorney, the parents said their lawsuit is a fight for human dignity.
“We couldn’t stand to watch Nikki’s hopes and dreams be crushed because a group of adults didn’t accept her for who she is,” said her father, Jaspret Brar.
“I am forever in awe of the courage that it took for Nikki to stand up for who she is, despite all the messages she was getting from her school and from society,” said her mother Priya Shah. “Her courage to fight for her authentic self has galvanized my own.”
The suit also names the school’s Pennsylvania-based parent company, Nobel Learning Communities.
In a statement on Thursday, Kerry Owens, a spokeswoman for Nobel Learning, said transgender students in older grades have been accommodated at its schools without incident.
Owens said the school retained an outside consultant for help and was communicating with the family to discuss accommodations for Nikki.
“Unfortunately, these accommodations were rejected, and the parents withdrew their child,” she said.
Nikki was born as a boy named Nikash, but as a small child she began showing preferences for toys and activities associated with girls — a behavior that is typical of transgender children, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Nikki “preferred pink outfits and rainbow ponies,” and would wear her mother’s high-heeled shoes.
Just before her seventh birthday, she told her mother that she was a girl and had felt…