Transgender student wins $300,000 discrimination lawsuit after he was barred from using the boy’s locker room

Transgender student wins $300,000 discrimination lawsuit after he was barred from using the boy’s locker room
Line or group of unused lockers.Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • A Minnesota school district will pay out $300,000 after a discrimination lawsuit was settled Tuesday.
  • Nick H., a trans student, was barred from using the boy's locker room in the 2015-2016 school year.
  • In addition to the settlement money, the district is also enacting modified policies and procedures.

The largest school district in Minnesota will pay out $300,000 after a years-long discrimination lawsuit was settled this week.

The Anoka-Hennepin school district is also enacting several modified policies, procedures, and trainings after a former transgender student sued the district for being barred from using the boy's locker room, according to the Star Tribune.

As a freshman at Coon Rapids High School in the 2015-2016 school year, Nick H. used the boy's locker room for gym classes and as a member of the boy's swimming team, reported.


But part-way through the swim season, the school board stepped in and told Nick he had to use a single-occupancy changing room instead, according to NBC News. He was also reportedly told he would be disciplined if he continued using the boy's locker room.

"All of the sudden it was like I was going to be in trouble if I used the boys locker room. I did rebel and I did use the regular boys locker room and then I was sent to the principal's office the next day," he told media outlets Tuesday.

According to Nick's attorney, the ACLU's David McKinney, Nick had been doing well in school before the incident, but he started to be bullied and received threats, which caused him "severe emotional distress."


Nick was hospitalized multiple times as a result, according to, and later changed schools.

The next summer, the district remodeled the locker room, building an "enhanced privacy bathroom" as part of the construction, the Tribune reported, but no other students were forced to use the special changing area, which was the catalyst for Nick's lawsuit.

Nick sued the school district in 2019, and an Anoka County district judge denied Anoka-Hennepin's request to dismiss the lawsuit that same year, reported, confirming that the district had discriminated against Nick by requiring him to use a different locker room facility.


The lawsuit, which was settled Tuesday, requires the school district's insurer to pay $110,000 to Nick's attorneys as well as $190,000 into an annuity for Nick, which will be paid out in $1,000 monthly payments for the next 18 years, according to

McKinney told reporters the settlement is a message to other school districts.

"If (students) are treated differently, if they are discriminated against because they are transgender, it will not be tolerated, and school districts will be held accountable," reported the attorney said.


As for Nick, now 20, reliving these challenging times has been difficult, he told reporters. But he hopes things will be better for the "next generation of students."

"Say something, speak up," Nick said to other trans students, according to the Tribune. "Help is out there."