The General Assembly adopted HB 1041 which was vetoed by Governor Holcomb and then subsequently adopted over his veto. It enacted IC 20-33-13 which, among other things, requires schools to adopt anti-trans athletic policies. Specifically, the law requires schools to designate an athletic team as one of: boys, girls, or co-ed. It then prohibits a child who was born biologically male at birth from competing on a team designated as a girls’ team.
On top of dictating the legislature’s policy on school sports, it requires schools to establish a grievance procedure for a student or student’s parent if they want to complain about another student’s biology. Specifically, the legislation provides:
Sec. 5. (a) A student or parent of a student may submit a grievance to a school corporation, public school, nonpublic school, or association for a violation of section 4 [the section forbidding children born biologically male from participating on a girls’ team] of this chapter.
(b) Each school corporation, public school, nonpublic school, and association described in section 4 of this chapter shall:
(1) establish and maintain a grievance procedure; or
(2) maintain a grievance or protest procedure that the school corporation, public school, nonpublic school, or association established before July 1, 2022;
for the resolution of a grievance submitted under this section.
(emphasis added). If a school violates the chapter — either permitting the child to participate on a forbidden team or failing to adopt a grievance procedure — the school is on the hook for attorneys fees, actual damages, and an extra $1,000 in liquidated damages. Honestly, the attorney’s fees are the big ticket item for something like this. These kind of fees really have a way of adding up quickly when someone other than a client is footing the bill.
The reason I was prompted to write this post is because the West Lafayette school board introduced a policy that would prohibit what the statute requires the school to prohibit and would implement the required grievance procedure. The Lafayette Journal and Courier ran a story that was pretty clear about the State mandating that the school do this. Nevertheless, the comment section (why do I go to the comment section?) reflected a sense by at least a couple of readers that the School was pursuing the policy on its own initiative. That’s simply not the case.
Edited to add: The Southern District of Indiana has issued an injunction at least to one particular case in Indianapolis. I guess I’m not entirely sure where that leaves schools on a statewide basis.
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