Evancho v. Pine-Richland School District

Lambda Legal clients Juliet Evancho, Elissa Ridenour and A.S. are transgender students in the Pine-Richland School District in suburban Pittsburgh. Until the beginning of their senior year, their school allowed them to use the restrooms that matched their gender identity. They did so for years and without incident.

But the school board caved in to pressure from anti-LGBT groups and a few parents, and implemented a new policy that singles out transgender students for discriminatory treatment.

In October 2016, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Juliet Evancho, Elissa Ridenour and A.S. against the Pine-Richland School District. In the complaint, Lambda Legal argues that Pine-Richland’s newly-adopted discriminatory restroom policy sends a purposeful message that transgender students in the school district are undeserving of the privacy, respect, and protections afforded to other students.

The complaint argues that the school district’s new policy is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, by discriminating on the basis of sex and gender identity. The policy also violates Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments by discriminating against students on the basis of sex.

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  • October 6 2016 Lambda Legal files lawsuit.
  • October 20 2016 Lambda Legal asks the court for a preliminary injunction halting the enforcement Pine-Richland’s newly-adopted discriminatory restroom policy.
  • December 1 2016 Court holds hearing on plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injenction for over five hours. 
  • February 27 2017 A federal district court judge rules in favor of three Lambda Legal clients and orders Pine-Richland school district to allow the students to use the bathroom that matches who they are.


Case Information

Status: Open


Lambda Legal

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, Staff Attorney
Christopher Clark, Senior Counsel
Kara N. Ingelhart, Skadden Fellow

Kline & Specter, P.C.

David C. Williams
Tracie L. Palmer


Juliet Evancho
Elissa Ridenour