Father, Daughter Sue School Over Free Speech Violation After Standing up for Girls’ Privacy

Blake and Travis Allen

When fourteen-year-old Blake Allen encountered a biological male—who identifies as a girl—in the girls’ locker room, she never imagined that she would be the one suspended from her high school. But that’s exactly what happened.

The male student entered the high school’s girls’ locker room after a volleyball practice while the female team members were changing. Concerned, several parents and students expressed their discomfort to school officials. But when Allen, a freshman, was overheard the next day expressing her concern, school officials responded by issuing her a two-day suspension, claiming she was in violation of the school’s bullying and harassment policy.

Allen was expected to take part in a “restorative circle” and submit a reflective essay on what the experience taught her. If she refused—or if the essay wasn’t up to the school’s standard—her suspension would be increased to five days.

When Allen’s father, Travis, expressed his frustration at the school’s response, school officials claimed that he “misgendered” the male student, suspending him from his role as a referee and middle-school girls’ soccer coach indefinitely—without pay.

The Allens filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against school officials as a result. Shortly after filing the lawsuit, Blake Allen’s school suspension order was rescinded. Her father’s suspension continued.

The Allens are seeking compensation for the violation of their First- and 14th-Amendment rights. Legal representation for the school officials claims that the lawsuit is “fundamentally unnecessary,” stating that the plaintiffs believe that “ridicule and intimidation of RUHS students are protected free speech.”

But the same school officials made it clear that they believe intimidation of students is acceptable behavior—and constitutionally protected—when they infringed on the rights of Blake Allen and suspended her for expressing her own concern. One thing is clear: according to progressive school boards and officials, free speech and equal protection only apply to those who follow their progressive school of thought—not those with dissenting opinions.

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